Senior UK anti-immigration politician hospitalised after European Parliament fist-fight
A senior member of Britain's principal anti-immigration party is recovering in hospital after what is believed to be a fight broke out between party leaders at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Steven Woolfe, a Member of the European Parliament, was reported to be in "life-threatening condition" after a "fracas" broke out at a meeting of fellow UKIP MEPs reportedly called to "clear the air" over recent reports of disarray within the party.
"The CT scan has shown that there is no blood clot in the brain," read a statement from Steven Woolfe, hours after his hospitalisation. "At the moment I am feeling brighter, happier, and smiling as ever."
Woolfe announced on Wednesday that he would stand for the leadership of the right-wing party vacated by Diane James, who resigned 18 days after she herself was elected.
"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," former party leader Nigel Farage said on Thusrday morning. "His condition is serious."
Nathan Gill, another UKIP MEP, told reporters that Woolfe was "conscious and recovering".
Earlier in the morning, while Woolfe's condition remained uncertain, Neil Hamilton, leader of the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly, blamed Woolfe for starting a punch-up.
"I understand there was an argument between some MEPs and Steven, I think, picked a fight with one of them and came off worse. That’s what I’ve heard second hand... I don’t know what his current condition is. It is obviously a serious matter if he’s been carted off to hospital with bleeding on the brain, as I understand."
He concluded: "It must have been quite a wallop."
The Guardian newspaper has named Mike Hookem MEP as the other person involved in the brawl, reporting that Hookem "made a few choice words" to Woolfe about "defecting to the Tories".
The Conservative Party unveiled a tranche of new policies at its conference this week, which many commentators have said aligned the government more closely with the further right-wing UKIP.
"Stephen Woolfe has then taken his jacket off, walked over and said, 'Right, you, outside now' or words to that effect", the source told the Guardian.
"It is understood that Woolfe walked away from the fight and appeared well enough to vote half an hour later. However, Woolfe left the vote mid-way through and then collapsed before he was taken to hospital," the left-leaning paper reported.