Wednesday 22 January 2020

Ukip left in turmoil as MEP quits party

Former Ukip leadership contender Steven Woolfe Photo: Ukip/PA Wire
Former Ukip leadership contender Steven Woolfe Photo: Ukip/PA Wire

David Hughes

Ukip has been plunged into a fresh round of turmoil and bitter recriminations after former leadership contender Steven Woolfe quit the party in the wake of an altercation with a fellow MEP which left him in hospital.

Mr Woolfe abandoned his bid to become leader of the party, claiming it was "ungovernable" without Nigel Farage at the helm.

He stood by his claim that he had "received a blow" from Ukip MEP Mike Hookem during the fracas at a private meeting at the European Parliament building in Strasbourg and revealed he had made a police complaint about the incident.

Mr Hookem has denied hitting the North West MEP and the acrimonious fallout from the October 6 incident continued with claims that Mr Woolfe had received warnings about "inappropriate behaviour" from senior party figures.

Yorkshire and the Humber MEP Mr Hookem also claimed Mr Woolfe had signed in for €306 (£276) daily allowances at the European Parliament three times last week while recovering from his injuries.

"The events at the meeting in Strasbourg led to me later being treated by doctors for two seizures, partial paralysis and loss of feeling in my face and body," Mr Woolfe said.

"I would like to thank all of the medical staff in Strasbourg for their impressive and swift treatment. I owe them my life. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their love and support - and also all of the people in politics who have sent me their best wishes.

"Since then, I have spent some time considering my personal and political future.

"It is with deep sorrow and regret that I am aborting my leadership campaign and announcing my resignation from Ukip with immediate effect."

He said he would continue sitting as an independent.

Mr Hookem shot back: "Steven Woolfe's political career was over once he showed disloyalty to the Ukip party and membership when he held talks to join the Tories."

Irish Independent

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