Ukip's Mike Hookem denies punching Steven Woolfe after MEP meeting

'There was no face slapping, there was no digs, there was nothing,' insists politician

Click to follow

Ukip's Mike Hookem has denied hitting colleague Steven Woolfe during a row - shortly before his fellow MEP collapsed and was rushed to hospital. 

Mr Woolfe claimed Mr Hookem had punched him during a heated exchange in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, a claim the defence spokesman denied - insisting "no punches were thrown".

According to sources, Mr Woolfe fell and banged his head during the altercation, which took place after a meeting of Ukip MEPs that had been intended to “clear the air”.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr 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.”

But Mr Hookem, who previously served in the RAF, told BBC Radio Humberside he had not hit his colleague. 

He said: "When I walked in he [Woolfe] approached me to attack me.

"He came at me, I defended myself. There were no punches thrown, there was no face slapping, there was no digs, there was nothing. It was as people in Hull would term handbags at dawn - a bit of a scuffle."

He said at the point that Mr Woolfe fell: "I was not holding him, I didn't push him". 

Images showed an unconscious Mr Woolfe sprawled on a bridge inside the European Parliament building. Paramedics were called and rushed Mr Woolfe to Hautepierre Hospital, where he was treated in intensive care having reportedly suffered two epileptic-like seizures and lost feeling in the left side of his body.

Scans later allayed earlier fears he had suffered bleeding on the brain.

Mr Woolfe has since said was “feeling brighter, happier and smiling as ever”. He was expected to be released from hospital later on Friday.

After visiting him in hospital, Ukip MEP Nathan Gill said his colleague accepted that “things did go too far” and had “reached out the hand of friendship” to Mr Hookem.

Mr Woolfe, a former barrister, is favourite to take over as Ukip leader following Diane James' resignation just 18 days after accepting the role. He had previously been expected to succeed Nigel Farage, but entered his application 17 minutes after the deadline.

Ukip has launched an investigation into the latest incident.