Ukip's Steven Woolfe has named who allegedly 'landed a blow' on him
You rarely expect politicians to engage in fisticuffs: let along in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. However, this is what happened on Thursday, when Ukip's Steven Woolfe was taken to hospital after an altercation. Now, Woolfe has named who allegedly hit him.
Leadership favourite Woolfe has claimed that MEP Mike Hookem "came at me and landed a blow" in an argument over the party's leadership contest.
According to Woolfe, Hookem lost his temper and pushed him into a door frame during a meeting ironically designed to clear the air between Ukip's MEPs.
Woolfe, 49, is recovering in hospital after he collapsed and suffered two seizures following the incident at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday.
But Hookem, 62, has denied he hit his colleague and suggested the MEP for North West England tripped instead.
Woolfe told the Daily Mail: "Mike was obviously very angry and lost his temper.
"I wasn't bruising for a scrap. I asked to deal with the matter outside of the room because it was flaring up in the meeting and upsetting everybody, and Mike clearly read that totally the wrong way. It was a completely unexpected incident.
"Mike came at me and landed a blow. The door frame took the biggest hit after I was shoved into it and I knew I'd taken a whack and was pretty shaken."
After the incident Woolfe briefly attended a voting session at parliament but left when he felt unwell. Moments later he collapsed and was rushed to hospital. He has since released a statement saying there is no blood clot in his brain, and he was "feeling brighter, happier, and smiling as ever" although was being kept overnight for secondary tests.
Hookem told the Daily Mail: "I did not hit Steven and I did not see him hit his head."
The incident threatens to further damage the reputation of the party, which is locked in a leadership crisis following the shock resignation of Diane James just 18 days after she was elected as leader.
Woolfe had announced he will run for leader in the next election, after he was barred from standing in the leadership contest over the summer for missing the nomination deadline by 17 minutes.
But there were claims that he had angered some MEPs by recently admitting that he had considered defecting to the Conservatives.
Party leader Nigel Farage has ordered an inquiry into the confrontation.
Farage likened the incident to something you would see "in Third World parliaments".
"It's two grown men getting involved in an altercation. It's not very seemly behaviour, but I'm not today going to get involved in the blame game, name names and say who did what," he said.