Steven Woolfe is recovering in hospital after allegedly getting into a stand-up row with fellow Ukip MEP Mike Hookem.
Woolfe, 49, was treated for severe injuries following an altercation and was being treated in hospital in Strasbourg for a “suspected bleed on the brain”.
When asked if Hookem was involved in the row, a senior Ukip source told HuffPost UK: “I will not deny [that].”
Nigel Farage confirmed that an altercation took place during a meeting of Ukip MEPs.
Farage said in a statement: “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. His condition is serious.”
Neil Hamilton, leader of the UK Independence Party in the National Assembly for Wales, told BBC News that Woolfe “picked a fight with one of them (fellow Ukip MEPs) and came off worst”.
Who is Mike Hookem?
Mike Hookem, 62, is Ukip’s defence spokesman.
He was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2014.
Hookem joined Ukip in 2008. He stood as a Ukip candidate in the 2010 General Election for the constituency of Hull East, finishing fourth.
On his website, Hookem says that he joined the party because he was committed to showing his constituents “what a corrupt and dictatorial system the European Union is and how many of the decisions taken by faceless, unelected bureaucrats, directly affect them”.
Hookem, from Hull, was the running mate of Bill Etheridge in the party’s leadership election.
On Wednesday morning, Hookem said that Ukip had selected its last leader “based on style”, adding: “Perhaps next time we should try substance.”
His comments came following Diane James’ resignation after just 18 days as Ukip leader.
He describes himself as coming from “working class roots” and was “born into the fishing community”.
A former RAF serviceman, Hookem also had a career with the Royal Engineers.
A statement on his website reads: “After leaving school at 15, I had several low paid jobs, but I craved more, and at the age of 17 enlisted in the Royal Air Force.
“Serving in the armed forces was a revelation to me and I was extremely proud to serve my country.
“My four-year stint kick started my life and by the time I left four years later; I was determined to make a success of myself.
“From there my working life was a mixture of skilled trades and management positions, however, the military life still called to me and I soon joined the Royal Engineers as a Commando Engineer, a position I held for 9 years.”
Hookem described joining Ukip as “like a breath of fresh air”.
Becoming an MEP:
Hookem says in a statement on his website: “As an MEP, I don’t intend to change who I am or where I came from.
“I will not be changing my accent or the way I speak, as I am still a working class lad from the west end of Hull, who calls a spade a spade.
“I do however promise to debunk the rubbish coming out of the EU, and to give the public the opportunity to understand what is being done in Europe in your name.
“I will also strive to help anyone who approaches me and give 100% of myself to this region.
“Thing are changing in British politics and I aim to be at the forefront of the People’s Army. (sic)”