Steven Woolfe quits Ukip and makes police complaint

MEP goes to authorities over altercation in Strasbourg as party searches for new leader

 

Former Ukip leadership contender Steven Woolfe has announced he has quit the party and had made a police complaint over the 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 leading it, and the European Union referendum cause to unite behind.

He stood by his claim that he had “received a blow” from Ukip MEP Mike Hookem during the fracas at a meeting in Strasbourg which caused the injuries leading to him requiring hospital treatment.

Mr Hookem has denied striking Mr Woolfe, and published photos of his hands in an effort to clear his name.

Mr Woolfe said he would continue sitting as North West MEP as an independent.

His announcement came after Ukip said its new leader would be announced on November 28th.

Mr Woolfe said: “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.

“I am now seeking legal advice in respect of the investigations and will not be commenting further on the matter until the completion of those investigations.”

Nominations will close at noon on October 31st for contenders to replace Diane James, whose term as leader lasted just 18 days.

Confirmation of the timetable came after the party chairman said the outcome of the investigation into the clash between Mr Woolfe and Mr Hookem would be announced before the leadership contest begins in earnest.

Paul Oakden said all those “in and around” the area where the “altercation” took place had been preliminarily questioned over the incident.

Describing the altercation as “one small incident”, Mr Oakden told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “The investigation will certainly conclude before the close of nominations for the leadership campaign.”

Mr Oakden said it was up to Mr Woolfe to decide if he was fit enough to stand for the leadership.

“That’s for Steven to say. We are all delighted that Steven is recovering, although, obviously, he is still feeling somewhat under the weather after what appears to have been a very serious medical incident.

“So, only he can say whether he is in full fitness and ready to fight a leadership campaign,” he said.

‘Impediments’

Mr Oakden said he saw no “impediments” to Suzanne Evans standing in the election, after she was deemed ineligible last time because she had been suspended.

The Ukip chairman insisted he had supported Ms James in her role as leader.

The rules of the contest have cleared the way for Ms Evans to stand, stating that “all members who have been in good standing for 28 days are eligible”.

All candidates will need 75 signatures from at least 10 branches to be eligible.

Candidates will also need to pay a deposit of £5,000 which shall be refunded upon polling at least 20 per cent of the vote, while 80 per cent will be returned if they withdraw by November 7th.

There will be a series of hustings in the first two weeks of November, with ballots sent out to members on November 11st.

PA