Ukip releases report into Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem altercation in Strasbourg

Mr Woolfe needed urgent hospital treatment after he collapsed in the European Parliament

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 26 October 2016 19:05 BST
A Ukip report states that the row brought shame on Mike Hookem and Steven Woolfe, who ended on the floor and was taken to hospital
A Ukip report states that the row brought shame on Mike Hookem and Steven Woolfe, who ended on the floor and was taken to hospital

In the absence of eyewitnesses the true facts of an altercation between two of Ukip MEPs are impossible to determine, an internal investigation by the party has concluded.

The report, entitled Altercation in Strasbourg, adds the incident on 6 October brought “great shame” on both Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem and that their behaviour at the European Parliament “falls far below what we would expect from any member of our party”.

However, when asked about the report by The Independent friends of Mr Woolfe questioned the independence of the internal review, considering the former frontrunner had resigned from the Eurosceptic party and Mr Hookem remained a member.

Paul Oakden, the Ukip chairman responsible for conducting the inquiry, said: “The decision of Mr Hookem to join Mr Woolfe in the ante room is the only action which I have the ability to consider for disciplinary action.

“In the absence of eyewitnesses, the true facts of what took place in the ante room itself are impossible to determine and neither man has made an official complaint to the party over the incident.”

He added: “Had Mr Woolfe not collapsed later that day, we may never have known that the altercation took place at all.

“However, as chairman, I’m appalled that such a situation could arise between two of our most high profile representatives and I have strongly considered suspension as a possible course of action.”

Mr Oakden added that while Mr Hookem was “foolish” in his actions he was not the instigator of the incident and cannot be held principally responsible for either taking place. The author also praised the MEP for showing regret and his “excellent record” in representing the Eurosceptic party prior to the altercation.

“In light of this, a formal reprimand will be placed on Mr Hookem’s internal record, to be considered in the event of a reoccurrence of any infraction which might cause damage to the reputation of the party.

“Both I, and this investigation now consider this matter closed,” he added

It comes after both the MEPs were referred to the French police over an alleged fight, following which one of them needed urgent hospital treatment. Mr Woolfe has claimed his Ukip colleague “landed a blow” on him after the pair left a party meeting in the European parliament building to settle a heated argument, but Mr Hookem denies any punches were thrown.

The incident led to Mr Woolfe, then favourite to take the reins of the party, dramatically quit, branding it “ungovernable” and in a “death spiral”.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz added that he would call in the French authorities over the incident, in the wake of which leadership frontrunner Mr Woolfe said he would quit the party.

Mr Schulz said an investigation was needed given various statements “diverge substantially” over what happened. He said: “Given the seriousness of the reported facts and their possible criminal implications, further evidence is needed to clarify that matter.

“As a result, I have decided to follow the recommendation of the advisory committee and I have referred this matter to the French authorities.”

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