UKIP leadership favorite, Steven Woolfe, has been taken to hospital in serious condition after collapsing following an altercation during a meeting of party MPs in Strasbourg.
North West England MEP is said to have fallen ill in Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday.
UKIP provisional leader, Nigel Farage, said: “I deeply regret that after an altercation that took place at a meeting of members of UKIP this morning that Steven Woolfe later collapsed and was taken to hospital his condition is serious.”.
Later Farage told the Telegraph: “Things are slightly better just spoke with Mr. Woolfe and I will go visit him this afternoon we are still waiting for the results’m going to visit him in the hospital…”.
Raheem Kassam, former adviser Farage, had earlier said that the condition of Woolfe was believed to be “life-threatening”.
Sources familiar with the incident said Woolfe had been punched in the meeting of deputies, but was taken ill immediately. Subsequently she collapsed when they went to vote in the European Parliament.
UKIP MEPs were invited to come to “clear the air” amid the crisis caused by the resignation of Diane James as leader and admission Woolfe had considered defecting to the Conservatives.
After an angry discussion, Woolfe said to have asked a colleague to move the discussion outside the meeting, and having been drilled shortly thereafter.
I’ve just heard Steven Woolfe’s condition is life threatening. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
The source told The Guardian that Farage was not the person who threw the punch.
After the incident, Woolfe reportedly told his colleagues that he had been “difficult”, but he told them what had happened and so appeared until he collapsed after going to vote.
Neil Hamilton, leader of UKIP in the Welsh Assembly, said he had been informed by colleagues in the European Parliament that Woolfe had “picked a fight with one of them and came out worse.”
Hamilton told the BBC he had heard from a witness who Woolfe had bleeding in the brain, after he was beaten and hit his head. “He turned and hit his head against a glass window so it must have been a blow,” Hamilton said.
Woolfe, Farage understood and other MEPs had been meeting James, who left office on Tuesday, only 18 days after being elected.
Gawain Towler ukip spokesman said: “Steven Woolfe MEP suddenly ill at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning was taken to the city hospital and is undergoing tests.”.
Suzanne Evans, former vice president of UKIP, said it is considering its own offer leadership, tweeted: “It surprised to hear Steven Woolfe apparently has collapsed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg wishing him the best for a speedy recovery.”.
My apologies to @RobbieGibb and team at @daily_politics but it would not be respectful to campaign while Steven is unwell.
Kassam, who is also running to be leader UKIP, said he was falling out of an appearance on the BBC Daily Politics respect for Woolfe. “I really hope Steven-Woolfe’s fine. PLZ send their memories.”
Woolfe said Wednesday it was reliving his attempt to become the UKIP leader after James left. James had cited the lack of support from colleagues as the party plunged into chaos.
Woolfe was blocked and will not run in the previous contest to succeed Farage – for which he was the favorite – after submitting your forms 17 minutes late.
It had not long been rumors the Woolfe was about defecting to the Conservatives, who led in a statement released Wednesday. “I’ve been excited about beginning to Prime Minister Theresa May,” he said. “Their support of new grammar schools, his words on social mobility and the growing evidence that she is committed to a Brexit clean prompted me, as did many of my friends and colleagues to wonder whether our future was in their new conservative party.
“However, after seeing the prime minister’s speech on Sunday, I came to the conclusion that only a strong UKIP can guarantee Brexit is delivered in full, and only us can rise by communities in the central region and the north.”