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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

I can prove I was attacked, hospitalised UKIP MEP claims

The other MEP involved in the row claims that Steven Woolfe started the fight.

Steven Woolfe recovers in hospital
Steven Woolfe recovers in hospital
Image: UKIP handout

THE UKIP MEP who ended up in hospital after a row with a colleague has released a statement saying his injuries support his claim that he was attacked.

Steven Woolfe said a medical examination revealed he suffered injuries to his face, head and body. His statement was released to Sky News after the other politician involved, MEP Mike Hookem, said it was Woolfe who started the fight.

Here’s what the statement said:

“A team of experts independent of the hospital staff were called in to examine physical injuries to Steven’s face, head and body that were inconsistent with just a seizure or a fall as a result of a seizure.

“The team of experts also examined other pieces of evidence including clothing and images relating to those injuries.

Their report will shine a different light on claims currently being made in the media.

Additionally sources told Sky News that the medical examination of Woolfe revealed bruising on his face consistent with a punch and bruising on the back of the head consistent with a fall.

Leadership woes 

49-year-old Woolfe this week launched a bid to lead the party after Diane James, elected just last month, unexpectedly quit after just 18 days at the helm.

Hookem’s remarks accusing him of starting the fight prompted claims from other party members that Woolfe was unfit to be leader.

Thursday’s dispute at the European Parliament broke out after Woolfe, a former barrister who grew up in a deprived area of Manchester, admitted that he had considered joining the Conservative Party following the Brexit vote.

“Mike came at me and landed a blow,” Woolfe was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying from his hospital bed. But Hookem said Woolfe had started the fight, challenging him to go “mano a mano”.

“He came at me. I defended myself. There were no punches thrown,” said Hookem, a military veteran.

UKIP’s interim leader Nigel Farage, whose resignation announcement after the June vote to leave the EU brought party tensions to the surface, has announced an internal investigation.

Farage on Thursday said the fight was “one of these things that happens between men”.

“You see third world parliaments where this sort of thing happens,” he told reporters near the hospital.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz also initiated an investigation, saying that the reported facts were “extremely serious” and “disrespectful and violent behaviour” had no place in the parliament.

Woolfe was rushed to hospital and initially said to be in a serious condition after suffering two “epileptic-like fits” and passing out.

French police have not been asked to investigate.

It’s expected Woolfe will remain in hospital until tomorrow for observation.

With reporting from © AFP 2016

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