STRASBOURG/LONDON (Reuters) - Steven Woolfe, a leading member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the UK Independence Party, was in a serious condition in a Strasbourg hospital on Thursday after an “altercation” during a meeting of UKIP MEPs, party leader Nigel Farage said.
“I deeply regret that following an altercation that took place at a meeting of UKIP MEPs this morning that Steven Woolfe subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital. His condition is serious,” Farage said in a statement emailed by a spokesman.
Sources told The Guardian that Woolfe had been punched by a colleague.
Farage, who leads UKIP in the EU legislature, resumed his overall leadership of the party on Wednesday after his elected successor stood down after less than three weeks in the job amid factional struggles following the referendum which delivered UKIP’s key goal of taking Britain out of the European Union.
A UKIP spokesman said Woolfe had been taken “suddenly ill” in the European Parliament building and had been taken to hospital for tests.
The incident comes just a day after Woolfe said he would be putting his name forward to be the party’s new leader even though he admitted he had considered joining Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives.
“In the last few weeks I have thought long and hard about my political future and how I can best help build the Brexit Britain we voted for in June - a meritocratic, independent and prosperous country that stands up for the millions of people who have been ignored for too long,” he said.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels and Michael Holden in London; Editing by Stephen Addison)