Two UKIP officials in Liverpool have resigned following the party’s “crass insensitivity” surrounding the Hillsborough tragedy.

Adam Heatherington, chairman of the Merseyside regional branch and Stuart Monkham, the chairman of leader Paul Nuttall’s own branch in Liverpool, claimed comments made by party figures were “upsetting and intolerable” for the families of the victims.

Nuttall apologised last week after falsely claiming that he had lost “close friends” in the 1989 disaster.

The party’s millionaire donor Arron Banks caused further anger when he tweeted he was “sick to death” of hearing about Hillsborough.

Mr Monkham said in a statement: “Although the timing of our resignations is unfortunate in light of upcoming elections, both Adam and I wish to make it clear, where the painful subject of Hillsborough is concerned, with closure not yet in sight, this unprofessional approach and crass insensitivity from high profile people closely within and without UKIP is upsetting and intolerable.”

The resignations will come as another blow to Mr Nuttall, who is seeking to win the Stoke-on-Trent by-election from Labour this Thursday.

During UKIP’s spring conference in Bolton last week the UKIP leader said that he had been a victim of a “co-ordinated, cruel and almost evil smear campaign” over Hillsborough.