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Ukip chief Paul Nuttall 'will not stay in Stoke' if he loses by-election fight

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has said he will not be putting down any roots in Stoke-on-Trent if he loses the city's forthcoming by-election battle.

Mr Nuttall, who is standing for the Stoke Central seat, was responding to reported comments from Labour candidate Gareth Snell that he should "sod off back to where he came from".

Asked by reporters if he would stay in Stoke should he lose the vote on February 23, Mr Nuttall, from Liverpool, said: "If I lose the election, no - I won't, no."

He added that he would have responsibilities as a North West region MEP.

Mr Snell is reported to have said the Ukip leader had tried to "brand himself Mr Stoke" but was only interested in getting a seat in Parliament.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Snell said: "If someone can tell me he has a genuine love for The Potteries I will be amazed.

He added: "If he's only interested in being the leader of Ukip in Parliament he should take his bags and sod off back to where he came from."

Mr Nuttall, speaking to reporters in Stoke on Monday, said: "I'm not really going to get into it, because as the Admiral Jackie (John) Fisher said, if you have a fight with a chimney sweep, you'll only ever get covered in soot."

He added: "If I win the by-election I will move here, I've made that absolutely 100% clear."

It is not the first time Mr Nuttall's living arrangements have made headlines.

Earlier this month, a Channel 4 News reporter turned up at Mr Nuttall's front door in Stoke to find the house, listed on his official by-election nomination form, apparently empty.

Ukip officials said it was "hot air" to suggest Mr Nuttall would not be using the address, with the party later posting a photo on social media of their smiling leader sitting on a camp bed in the house with no socks on.

However, Mr Nuttall said he had been forced to move again after fears for personal safety, following a series of serious incidents at the property.

He said: "I can't be there, we had agreement from the (by-election) returning officer that it's not safe for me to be there, there was a number of attempts to gain access to the property.

"We've had a bit of hate mail, people trying to get in (and) to take photographs through the window."

He added: "I am the national leader of a political party and in a post-Jo Cox world it was deemed not safe for me to be there.

Mr Nuttall said he was now living at a secret address in the constituency.

He said: "I am around and about in the constituency, but I'm not going to tell anyone where."

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