UKIP are coming apart at the seams


The UKIP MEP involved in an altercation with Steven Woolfe has said he “categorically did not” throw a punch at his colleague.

Mike Hookem acknowledged he and his colleague had a “scuffle” in the European Parliament but insisted that he did not hit him.

“I am innocent,” he told the BBC. “I never threw a punch. I never assaulted him. I will stand my corner.”

UKIP’s Steven Woolfe will be kept in hospital for a further 48 hours.

Thursday’s incident is being investigated by UKIP and the European Parliament, where it has been announced the inquiry will be led by Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim.

There have been varying descriptions of what happened during what UKIP called an “altercation” and Mr Hookem told BBC Radio Humberside only he and Mr Woolfe knew precisely what went on.

Erm… ?

Mr Hookem said he was “shocked” by the MEP’s hospitalisation in the hours following the incident but insisted it had been “blown out of all proportion” by the media.

He said the fracas took place in an “ante room” in the European Parliament following a “heated debate” among a wider group of MEPs as they questioned Mr Woolfe about reports he had had discussions about joining the Conservatives in recent days.

He said Mr Woolfe had objected to remarks which he made. “He then stood up in front of everybody and said ‘if it’s that, let’s take it outside of the room’, I think his words were ‘mano a mano’.”

“When I walked in he approached me to attack me. He came at me, I defended myself. There were no punches thrown, there was no face slapping, there were no digs, there was nothing,” he said.

“It’s (what) people in Hull would term ‘handbags at dawn’. A bit of a scuffle.”