Paul Nuttall will take a break from his campaigning in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election and head to Bolton to address Ukip's spring conference on Friday morning (17 February).

The Ukip leader has faced a backlash after he admitted he did not lose "close personal friends" in the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster, contrary to quotes on his website.

That website is now down for "scheduled maintenance" and Lynda Roughley, a press officer for Nuttall, has taken the blame for the claims and offered her resignation.

Nuttall will reportedly turn to England's favourite fast food to grab some positive headlines, with a pledge to axe the 20% VAT levy on fish and chips.

"People should not have to choose between heating and eating," he will tell the Ukip conference, according to the Press Association.

The speech will come just days before the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election on 23 February. Nuttall is hoping to win over some of the 69% of Stoke residents who backed a Brexit at the EU referendum in June.

The by-election was triggered after Tristram Hunt quit the House of Commons to become the director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Councillor Gareth Snell has been selected by Labour to fight for the Staffordshire seat and defend Hunt's majority of more than 5,000 votes.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is also expected to address the self-styled "People's Army" in Bolton.

The Eurosceptic firebrand has seen his media presence grow in the wake of the Brexit vote, not least after his meeting with Donald Trump in New York in November. Farage now has a presenting slot on LBC Radio and is a contributor to Fox News.

His pro-EU nemesis, former prime minister Tony Blair, is also expected to make a speech on Friday. Blair will call on Remain voters to "rise up in defence of what we believe" in a bid to make the UK stay in the EU.

The latest intervention from the former Labour leader will come a month before the government plans to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and trigger divorce talks with Brussels.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall describes his 'horrible week' ITN