World Europe 06 Oct 2016 UKIP lawmaker hospit ...

UKIP lawmaker hospitalised after altercation with colleagues

AP
Published Oct 6, 2016, 8:25 pm IST
Updated Oct 6, 2016, 8:25 pm IST
Steven Woolfe collapsed after an altercation at a meeting of UKIP MEPs, and his condition is said to be serious.
Steven Woolfe was hospitalised after altercation with colleagues at the parliament in Strasbourg, France.
 Steven Woolfe was hospitalised after altercation with colleagues at the parliament in Strasbourg, France.

London: A European Parliament member from Britain's right-wing UK Independence Party – the front-runner to be its next leader – was in serious condition in a hospital after an "altercation" Thursday with colleagues.

Party leader Nigel Farage said, "Following an altercation that took place at a meeting of UKIP MEPs" at the parliament in Strasbourg, France, "Steven Woolfe subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital. His condition is serious."

 

The party said it was awaiting an update on Woolfe's condition. According to media reports, Woolfe was punched at the Thursday morning meeting, hit his head and collapsed some time later.

An image published by ITV News showed a man resembling Woolfe apparently unconscious on a walkway inside the Strasbourg building, just outside the parliament chamber.

European Parliament spokeswoman Marjory Van Den Broeke confirmed that emergency services were called after Woolfe had a medical incident in front of the parliament chamber at 12:40 pm on Thursday.

 

Founded in 1993 with the goal of removing Britain from the European Union, UKIP has moved from the fringes of British politics to a position of serious influence. Over the past few years the party has won over large numbers of Conservative and Labour voters by appealing to concerns about globalisation and large-scale immigration.

UKIP was instrumental in getting Britain to hold a referendum on EU membership, which ended in a June 23 vote for Britain to leave the 28-nation bloc.

The result was an enormous political triumph for UKIP, but since then the always-fractious party has been torn by infighting.

 

Long-time leader Farage stepped down after the June referendum and was replaced by Diane James. She quit Tuesday after just 18 days, citing personal reasons – leaving Farage as interim leader.

Woolfe had announced his intention to run in an upcoming leadership contest and was bookies' favorite to win.

He was prevented from running to replace Farage in the leadership contest won by James because party officials said he missed the application deadline by 17 minutes.

Woolfe, who turned 49 on Thursday, said recently that he had considered joining the Conservative Party because he was "enthused" by new Prime Minister Theresa May's commitment to social reform. He said he decided to remain with UKIP because working-class people "need to have a voice against the elites."

 

UKIP has just one seat out of 650 in Britain's House of Commons, but – despite its vociferous opposition to the EU and all it stands for – it holds more than 20 seats in the bloc's parliament of 751 seats.

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