What we know
UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe and contender for the party’s leadership ‘collapsed’ after a dispute with fellow UKIP member Mike Hookem in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday (6 October).
He said: “Mike came at me and landed a blow. The door frame took the biggest hit after I was shoved into it.” (quoted in the Daily Mail)
Hookem denies hitting Woolfe or seeing him bang his head.
Woolfe is being kept in hospital in Strasbourg until Sunday. He was said to be in a serious condition when he was rushed to A&E suffering two ‘epileptic-like fits’.
Parliament President Martin Schulz said it was a ‘very regrettable matter’ and referred it to the advisory committee on the code of conduct for members.
What was the dispute about?
At a group meeting, Woolfe reportedly said he had considered joining the Conservative Party following the Brexit vote.
Both Woolfe and Hookem could be stripped of their basic allowance and face a two-to-ten-day suspension.
The incident comes just one day after the eurosceptic party lost its head when leader Diane James announced she wouldn’t take the post only three weeks after being elected.
Outgoing leader Nigel Farage renounced the leadership soon after Britain’s vote to leave the EU in July.
He said the party would hold its own investigation into the matter. On Thursday he was quoted as saying the bust-up was just ‘one of these things that happens between men’ by AFP newsagency.
Woolfe had been the favourite to win the leadership contest and the incident his left the party in disarray. Commentators say the dispute highlights the internal struggle in the party following Farage’s departure after achieving his goal of making the UK leave the EU.