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Topics: UKIP

Friday, 7 October 2016

image for UKIP politician denies punching colleague

The UKIP MEP involved in an altercation with Steven Woolfe has said he "categorically did not" throw a punch at his colleague as if had,"he would have knocked him out!"

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 and anyone who doesn't believe me can pop around my house to see if they have the bottle to say it to my face? "

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.

Mr Woolfe, among the favourites to be the party's next leader, collapsed after their exchange and was taken to hospital.

The 49-year old had a precautionary scan which revealed there was no blood clot and that no trace could be found of his brain although he is to remain under observation for a further 48 hours in Strasbourg "as a precaution in case His brain decides to return".

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 "aunty 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.

Mano a mano

He said Mr Woolfe had objected to remarks which he made. "He then stood up in front of everybody and said 'if you want it, let's take it outside ', I think his words were 'mano a mano'."

"When I walked in ran at 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,just me hitting him with a stool, strictly in self defence, twice, maybe three times" he said.

"It's (what) people in Hull would term 'handbags at dawn'. A bit of a scuffle, without bottles."

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