UKIP's Steven Woolfe says doctors back his claims Mike Hookem punched him

UKIP's Hookem described Woolfe's collapse as

UKIP's parliamentary spokeswoman Suzanne Evans said she was "Shocked to hear Steven Woolfe has apparently collapsed in the European Parliament in Strasbourg".

There have been varying descriptions of what happened and Mr Hookem has said only that he and Mr Woolfe knew precisely what went on.

Ukip's Jonathan Arnott said the episode showed Mr Woolfe can no longer stand as the party's next leader.

UK Independence Party legislator Steven Woolfe has been discharged from a French hospital following an altercation with another senior party member.

Woolfe reportedly seemed well immediately after the altercation, but collapsed later after casting a vote in Parliament.

"He did lose consciousness for a bit so things were pretty bad. The only effect at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left hand side of my face".

In a sign of the bitter divisions, the party's millionaire backer Arron Banks demanded the suspension of the party's ruling national executive committee.

Mr Woolfe was the first contender to throw his hat in the ring having been barred from standing in the last leadership election after it was ruled he submitted his nomination papers 17 minutes late.

MEPs are said to be angered by reports Mr Woolfe had considered defecting to the Tories.

"We have got to get over it and elect another leader", he said.

He has also used social network Twitter to say he is confident "the truth will come out" around the situation, urging party members: "It's time for more calm and less judgement".

MEP Roger Helmer, who was at the meeting, confirmed there had been "a lively exchange of views" but said he did not see any physical confrontation.

A UKIP spokesman said Woolfe had suffered two "epileptic-like fits and numbness on the left hand side of his body at 12:30".

"And the photograph of Steven Woolfe sitting in a hospital bed where there is no marks whatsoever on his face".

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today programme, Mr Helmer said the investigation would be crucial to his future in the party.

But Farage's statement earlier Thursday made it clear that party politics had played a role in the incident.

"I was backed up because my colleague Paddy O'Flynn said, "No, sorry Steven, you were the one that instigated this, you were the one that stood up and said let's take this outside mano-a-mano".



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