The favourite to lead the anti-EU UK Independence Party, Steven Woolfe, was in a “serious” condition in hospital Thursday after an “altercation” at a meeting with colleagues in the European Parliament, former chief Nigel Farage said.
The incident at the parliament in Strasbourg, France, came two days into a leadership contest sparked by UKIP’s new leader Diane James’s resignation after just 18 days as Farage’s successor.
“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,” Farage said in a statement.
MEP in serious condition
“His condition is serious.”
British media reported that Woolfe had been punched by a colleague and was being treated for bleeding on the brain but there was no immediate confirmation from the party.
A picture tweeted by Britain’s ITV broadcaster showed a man in a suit said to be Woolfe sprawled face down on a walkway at the glass-and-steel parliament building, with a bag and a coat next to him.
The incident happened on Woolfe’s 49th birthday.
A UKIP spokesman said Woolfe “was taken suddenly ill in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg this morning. He has been taken to hospital in the city and he is undergoing tests.”