Nigel Farage has described an altercation that took place at a meeting of Ukip MEPs as like something from a “Third World parliament”.
Mr Farage, who is effectively the party's leader again following Diane James's decision not to take over the role, condemned the incident which saw the current leadership favourite, Steven Woolfe, collapsing and requiring hospital treatment, as "not very seemly behaviour" and something that "shouldn't happen".
Speaking just hours after the clash, Mr Farage said: “We’re talking about a dispute that finished up physically.
“It never looks good... you see Third World parliaments where this sort of thing happens. It’s not good. It shouldn’t happen. It’s two grown men, getting involved in an altercation. It’s not very seemly behaviour.”
When asked who he thought was responsible for the incident, Mr Farage declined to comment, saying: "I didn’t actually see it myself. I have my suspicions. But I’m not today going to get involved in the blame game and name names. But we will, as a party, have an inquiry and come to a conclusion.
“We’ve got a colleague who was in a very bad place a few hours ago. For the moment, for his sake and his family’s sake I want to say thank God he’s getting better."
Mr Farage confirmed the party had launched an inquiry into the altercation, which took place in the European Parliament in France, and said he did not believe any complaints would be made to French police.
Mr Woolfe, who only 24-hours earlier had put his name forward to lead the party, is said to have suffered two seizures following the incident, prompting fears of a blood clot. But after a series of scans, it was confirmed there was no bleeding to the brain.
Images emerged shortly after the brawl, showing MEP Mr Woolfe collapsed on the floor in the middle of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.
Ukip's former party director, Lisa Duffy, said it was a “very challenging time” for the party, but vowed that it would continue to “fight with force” in political terms.
Ms Duffy told the BBC: “In my 12 years' experience within Ukip I have seen many heated discussions but never got to the point where punches have been exchanged so this is deeply distressing today.
Meanwhile, major Ukip donor, Arron Banks, said he was “shocked” at the incident and that Ukip was "at breaking point".
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