STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 6 (UPI) — A British member of the European Parliament is recovering in the hospital after getting into a fight with another member, according to a statement he released this afternoon.
Steven Woolfe, the favorite to take over the U.K. Independence Party, got into an altercation with fellow UKIP member Mike Hookem during a “clear the air” meeting to settle strife among the British representatives.
“It’s two grown men getting involved in an altercation,” interim UKIP leader Nigel Farage, told The Guardian. “It’s not very seemly behavior but I’m not today going to get involved in the blame game or name names or say who did what.”
The meeting was held after previous party leader Diane James suddenly resigned her position after less than three weeks, causing chaos among party members. Tense emotions at the meeting were ratcheted up with an admission from Woolfe that he’d contemplated leaving to join an opposition conservative party but chose instead to make a bid for the UKIP top job.
Woolfe was confronted by Hookem with some “choice words” about the possible defection before he took off his jacket and invited Hookem outside.
After “taking the brunt of it,” Woolfe brushed off his jacket and walked away from the fight — returning about 30 minutes later to vote in the parliament. He collapsed a few hours later, hitting the ground face down and having at least two seizures.
Farage, a personal friend of Woolfe’s who visited him in the hospital, said doctors had not found any bleeding on the brain or clots, but that he would be held overnight for observation because he still had numbess down one side of his face.
“The CT scan has shown that there is no blood clot in the brain. At the moment I am feeling brighter, happier and smiling as ever. As a precaution, I am being kept in overnight awaiting secondary tests to make sure everything in fine,” Woolfe said in a statement. “I would like everyone to know that the parliamentary staff, the UKIP MEPs with me and hospital staff have been brilliant. Their care has been exceptional. I am sitting up, and said to be looking well. The only consequence at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left hand side of my face.”