The Ukip bust-up might never be solved as there are 'no witnesses'


Ukip's chairman has admitted that the investigation into Thursday's clash between two Ukip MEPs may struggle to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Paul Oakden said there were no independent witnesses to the incident at the European Parliament in Strasbourg between Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem, which left Woolfe in need of hospital treatment.

With Woolfe now recovering, Oakden said he was "hopeful" the two men would accept that what had happened was "regrettable" and agree to "move on" and get on with the election of a new party leader.

Steve Woolfe.

Woolfe evidently agrees with this sentiment, and according MEP Nathan Gill has "reached out the hand of friendship" to Hookem and "has realised that things did go too far".

Gill told reporters that while Woolfe was recovering well, he was being kept in hospital for a further 48 hours as a precautionary measure. "It was at one stage touch and go," he said.

Despite conflicting accounts by the two men, it appears there was an altercation following a stormy meeting of Ukip MEPs and Woolfe fell and banged his head, later suffering two seizures.

The Hopital De Hautepierre in Strasbourg where Woolfe is recovering.

Woolfe told the Daily Mail that Hookem "came at me and landed a blow" after they left the meeting room to continue the argument and he banged into a door frame.

Hookem, however, has said he did not punch Woolfe and that he did not see him hit his head.

Oakden, who is leading the investigation into what happened, said the conflicting accounts may make it difficult to establish the truth.

"I have spoken to people who were there and everything I am being told at the moment would suggest that there were no witnesses. That is going to present a problem," he told BBC Breakfast.

Paul Oakden.

"What I am hopeful of is that we have two members who accept that something happened yesterday that was unfortunate, regrettable, and they, as we all do, will want to move on from it and focus on electing our new leader."

Lisa Duffy, who was runner-up in the last leadership contest, said the incident raised questions as to Woolfe's suitability to become leader following the shock resignation on Wednesday of Diane James.

"I have been talking to a lot of members over the last few hours. They are embarrassed about what's happening to the party," she told BBC Radio 4´s Today programme.

Lisa Duffy.

"Do we want a leader who will get himself involved in an altercation or do we want a leader who is going to be rational and reflect and deal with things in an appropriate manner?"

Duffy said she had spoken to Hookem, who categorically denied throwing any punches. He told her that the incident was sparked by a row over comments by Woolfe admitting that he had considered defecting to the Tories.

Woolfe has insisted he was not "bruising for a scrap" and that Hookem had read his suggestion they should deal with the matter outside of the meeting room "totally the wrong way".