Hookem: I did not throw a punch

YORKSHIRE MEP Mike Hookem today denied striking Steven Woolfe and revealed the pair are set to shake hands over the pair’s “tussle”.

Mr Hookem described the confrontation with his fellow MEP as “embarassing” and “handbags at dawn”.

Mike Hookem

Mike Hookem

He said he only heard about Mr Woolfe’s subsequent collapse and medical treatment hours later as he was travelling.

Mr Hookem told The Yorkshire Post the incident began during a meeting of UKIP MEPs where Mr Woolfe was being questioned over his comments on a potential defection to the Conservatives.

The Yorkshire MEP said he had challenged Mr Woolfe over the sequence of events which led to him not being able to take part in this summer’s Ukip leadership contest.

Mr Woolfe, Mr Hookem said, asked him to step out of the meeting to settle the argument “mano a mano”.

“I went into this ante-room with hime and a tussle occured, it was handbags at dawn,” he said.

“There was not one punch thrown by me or him. I never punched him.

“There was no slap, no punch, it was embarassing.”

Mr Woolfe later collapsed and was treated in a Strasbourg hospital after suffering two seizures.

Mr Hookem rejected the idea he had “gone to ground” following the incident, explaining he had been travelling and did not find out what had happened for several hours.

The MEP admitted he was “bewildered” by the sequence of events and insisted the altercation lasted “literally seconds”.

“I was not the instigator, I was not the aggressor, there were no punches thrown,” he said.

He added: “He has sent me a message asking to shake hands”.

Asked if he would me taking Mr Woolfe up on his offer, Mr Hookem replied: “Absolutely”.

This morning, UKIP MEP Nathan Gill said Mr Woold was “in good form” in hospital.

He said: “As a precaution the medical authorities have requested that he stay for observation in the hospital’s neurological ward for the next couple of days.

“Steven’s family have been fully informed. He is sick of croissants and is looking forward to having a full English breakfast.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has ordered an internal party inquiry into the incident.

More follows