Mike Hookem Tells Channel 4 News' Krishnan Guru-Murthy What Happened In The 'Tussle' With Steven Woolfe

'This is two silly grown men that shouldn’t have got into this position.'

08/10/2016 16:05

Mike Hookem gave a confusing account of the “tussle” which took place between him and fellow Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe, confirming that he did push his colleague, before backtracking and saying he didn’t.

Hookem was speaking to Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy when he gave a muddled account of what actually took place between the two politicians.

Woolfe was taken to hospital on Thursday after collapsing at the European Parliament hours after an altercation with his colleague.

Guru-Murthy asked Hookem whether he pushed Woolfe, Hookem replied: “Yes.”

When the journalist tried to confirm that Hookem pushed Woolfe, the Ukip politician then corrected himself, saying: “No, no.”

Hookem described the incident as “just a tussle”, but denied that the two men were pushing one another. 

The 62-year-old added: “I did not punch Steven Woolfe.”

Hookem took umbrage at Guru-Murthy saying that he wanted to discuss the violence and the fall.

The Ukip MEP interrupted the Channel 4 News presenter, saying: “Sorry, there was no violence.”

“I can assure you there was no violence, this is not a violent tussle.

“This is two silly grown men that shouldn’t have got into this position. There was a heated debate and it shouldn’t have gone as far as it did.”

Hookem said that the incident showed he was under “immense stress” at the time.

“It was something that shouldn’t have happened,” Hookem said. He rejected suggestions that he should resign from the party.

Earlier on Friday, Hookem told the BBC that Woolfe started the brawl, saying “he approached me to attack me”, but insisted no punches were thrown between the pair. 

“He came at me, I defended myslef. There was no punches thrown, no face slapping, no digs, there was nothing,” he told the BBC on Friday.

“As people in Hull would say, it was handbags at dawn - a bit of a scuffle.”

Hookem said the pair had entered a room in the European Parliament through separate doors when the row broke out. 

The Ukip defence spokesperson, a former army man, said Woolfe fell back through the door he entered through and on to another MEP. 

He described the altercation to Sky News as “girl-on-girl” and one that took place “between an elderly grandfather and a 40-year-old MEP - quite silly, quite embarrassing”. 

Hookem also described how they “hugged like a pair of tarts”. 

Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who returned to the helm of the party following Diane James’ resignation, has launched an internal investigation into the altercation that left Woolfe being treated for bleeding on the brain.

Senior party figures have suggested that Woolfe’s apparent willingness to resort to violence rendered him unfit for leadership.

Lisa Duffy, who was runner-up in last month’s leadership election, said party members were “embarrassed” by what had taken place.

“Do we want a leader who will get himself involved in an altercation, or do we want a leader who is going to be rational and reflect and deal with things in an appropriate manner?” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“Violence or any kind of offering to go outside is not the way to deal with problems.”

Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott said it was “obvious to anybody” that Woolfe could no longer be a candidate, the Press Association reports.

“This really portrays Ukip in an appalling light,” he told BBC2’s Daily Politics programme.

“The people who have worked hard for this party, year in, year out, they expect better of their MEPs than what has been seen over the last 24 hours.”

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