UKIP leadership favourite Steven Woolfe is in a “life-threatening” condition after he was struck during an altercation between the party’s MEPs in Strasbourg.
Interim 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.”
Raheem Kassam, Farage’s former adviser, said Woolfe’s condition was believed to be “life-threatening.”
The MEP for the North West of England collapsed after the fight at the Strasbourg parliament on the morning of Thursday October 6 as he celebrated his 49th birthday.
Details as to precisely what happened remain scarce but sources have indicated that Woolf was punched during an emergency summit of Ukip MEPs and struck his head on a metal bar or window ledge when he fell.
He is said to have complained about losing sensation over one side of his body before collapsing half an hour later.
Neil Hamilton, the former Conservative minister turned Ukip leader in Wales, told the BBC that Woolfe “picked a fight with someone and came off worse”.
The crisis meeting was held to “clear the air” following the resignation of leader Diane James just 18 days into her tenure, and a public admission by Woolfe that he had considered defecting to the Tories in light of Ukip’s shambolic internal politics.
Woolfe was a heavy favourite to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the euro-sceptic party but was barred from the contest after submitting his application 17 minutes late.
On October 5 he declared that he would resurrect his leadership ambitions after James unexpectedly stepped down.