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Old 06-10-16, 13:45   #1
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Breaking News UK MEP Fighting For His Life After Being PUNCHED by Another MEP

Ukip Leadership Favourite Steven Woolfe is 'Fighting For His Life' in Hospital After Being PUNCHED by Another of The Party's MEPs During a 'Clear The Air' Meeting

  • Leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe collapses at European Parliament
  • Rushed to hospital and thought to have suffered head injuries
  • Ex leader Nigel Farage says he was hit at a meeting of Ukip MEPs earlier
  • Reportedly punched in the face during the altercation this morning
  • Collapse said to have happened on a walkway at the Strasbourg building
BBC/Daily Mail UK, 6 October 2016

The dramatic collapse happened at around 11.20 UK time when the MEP was on a walkway that runs between offices and the chamber itself. He is said to have been hit in the face during the altercation at a 'clear the air' meeting earlier.

Former leader Nigel Farage said in a statement:
'I deeply regret that following an altercation that took place at a meeting of Ukip MEPs this morning that Steven Woolfe subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital. His condition is serious.'

A Ukip spokesman said:
'Steven Woolfe MEP was taken suddenly ill in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg this morning. He has been taken to hospital in the city and he is undergoing tests.'

Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe is in 'serious' condition in hospital after collapsing following a punch-up with a fellow MEP.

Mr Woolfe dramatically collapsed on a walkway in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg at around 11.20 UK time shortly after the fight with another Ukip politician - understood to be Mike Hookem - at a 'clear the air' meeting.

The married father-of-one - who was marking his 49th birthday today - suffered serious head injuries and is being treated for bleeding on the brain.

Sources said the row was over Mr Woolfe's admission that he had considered defecting to the Tories after being 'enthused' by Theresa May's new direction.

After being told he was a 'joke', Mr Woolfe apparently took off his jacket and challenged Mr Hookem to 'settle this outside'.

Images published by ITV News this afternoon appear to show Mr Woolfe sprawled unconscious on the floor two hours later while someone tries to help him.

Steven Woolfe, the favourite to become Ukip leader, collapsed at the European Parliament building in Strasbourg after being punched by another MEP at a 'clear the air' meeting. Images published by ITV News appear to show him sprawled unconscious on the floor

Nigel Farage, a close ally of Mr Woolfe (pictured left), said he was in 'serious' condition. He is thought to have suffered bleeding on the brain after collapsing

Aides to Mr Hookem could not be reached today, but sources confirmed to MailOnline that he was involved in the earlier altercation.

Potential rivals for the leadership including Suzanne Evans have wished Mr Woolfe a 'speedy recovery'.

The development comes after the Eurosceptic party was plunged into chaos following the shock resignation of Diane James from its top job.

Mrs James had been in charge for just 18 days but cited 'personal and professional' reasons for her departure, citing a lack of support among the party's MEPs and officials.



Steven Woolfe is one of Ukip's most senior figures and had been favourite to succeed Nigel Farage after the referendum.
But a failure to submit his nomination papers on time left him knocked out of the race before it had even began.
After Diane James won the leadership, the MEP for North West England hinted at talks with the Conservatives.

But Ms James' resignation on Tuesday night threw him back into the limelight and he was installed as the bookies' front runner again.
A criminal law barrister by training, Mr Woolfe, who turned 49 today, is a Catholic who was born in Manchester's Moss Side.
He entered politics in 2010 with his debut speech to Ukip conference and has covered briefs including education and immigration.

Mr Woolfe failed to win election to the London Assembly and as a police and crime commissioner in Manchester.

His first win came at the 2014 European elections when entered the European Parliament.

Bizarrely, Nigel Farage is now technically leader again as Ms James had marked her nomination forms 'VC' to signify she was signing under duress.

Suzanne Evans, a leading contender to be Ukip leader, said: 'Shocked to hear Steven Woolfe has apparently collapsed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Wishing him well for a speedy recovery.'

Former Farage spin doctor and outsider for the top job Raheem Kassam said: 'I have cancelled my appearance on BBC @daily_politics out of respect to @Steven_Woolfe who is currently being treated after collapsing.'

Earlier Arron Banks, who donated 1million to Ukip before the general election, launched an outspoken attack on the 'circus clowns' running the party.
He lashed out at the NEC, which was heavily criticised for refusing to accept Mr Woolfe's candidacy for the leadership during the last contest because the papers were filed a few minutes late.

'This body is populated by a motley collection of amateurs; leftovers from a bygone age, when Ukip was a ragtag band of volunteers on the fringes of British politics.
'Watching them try to run the modern political movement that (Nigel) Farage built is like watching a team of circus clowns trying to carry out a pit stop at the Silverstone Grand Prix,' he wrote in the Guardian.

'If James hadn't put her name forward at the last minute, we would have had nothing but a rabble of no-name, no-talent nobodies to choose from. These people would be out of their depth in a paddling pool, and couldn't be more unfit to run a modern political party.'

The European Parliament chamber in Strasbourg. Mr Woolfe is said to have collapsed on a walkway in the building

The outside of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, where MEPs sit for just a few days a month

The attack came as Raheem Kassam, a former aide to Mr Farage, insisted the party was beset by back-stabbing and duplicity.

'I, like ordinary Ukip members, am so tired of the games that are being played at the top of this party. There is so much corruption. There is so much duplicity. There are so many people shaking hands with one another and then knifing them in private. It has to stop,' he said.

Mr Woolfe has admitted he had flirted with defecting to the Tories after being barred from the last leadership race by the party's NEC.

Ukip donor Arron Banks complained that the party was being run by 'circus clowns'

Nigel Farage is technically Ukip leader again, with Diane James (pictured right being congratulated by Mr Farage) having resigned just 18 days after being elected to replace him

The MEP said he had been 'enthused' by Theresa May's start to her premiership but in the end concluded that only Ukip could be relied upon to deliver on Brexit.

'Her support of new grammar schools, her words on social mobility and the growing evidence that she is committed to a clean Brexit prompted me, as it did many of my friends and colleagues, to wonder whether our future was within her new Conservative Party,' he said.
'However, having watched the Prime Minister's speech on Sunday, I came to the conclusion that only a strong Ukip can guarantee Brexit is delivered in full and only our party can stand up for the communities of the Midlands and the North.'

Ukip's NEC will now meet on October 17 to agree a timetable for an election to find a permanent replacement for Ms James.

Diane James, pictured leaving her home in Surrey today, cited 'personal and professional' reasons as she announced her surprised departure. She is believed to have signed her nomination papers 'VC' to denote 'under duress'

In her resignation statement, Ms James she said she was standing down for 'personal and professional' reasons, citing a lack of support among the party's MEPs and officials.

It is thought that her husband's ill-health may also have played a role, while Nigel Farage, who will head the party until a replacement is elected, pointed to an incident at London's Waterloo station in which she was verbally abused and spat at.

Mr Farage said he expects a new leader to be appointed before the end of November.
Former deputy leader Paul Nuttall, former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans, who has just returned to Ukip after a suspension, and Lisa Duffy, who came second to Ms James in the last leadership contest, are all said to be considering a leadership bid.

The back-biting came as Mr Farage accused the Conservatives of rebranding as Ukip after Mrs May's keynote address to the Tory Party conference.

'It made you realise the extent to which Ukip hadn't just pushed for, gained and helped to win a referendum, but actually we've changed the centre of gravity of British politics.
'Virtually everything she said in that speech are things I've said to the Ukip conference over the last five or six years,' Mr Farage told Channel 4 News.
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