UKIP MEP in hospital after altercation

Ukip leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe has said he is feeling "brighter, happier and smiling as ever" following an altercation with a fellow MEP in Strasbourg today.

Mr Hookem said he was "shocked" by the MEP's hospitalisation in the hours following the incident but insisted it had been "blown out of all proportion" by the media.

"It was deeply upsetting, I've always played a straight bat in politics but to be honest there's a lot of hearsay going around, I need to find out more about what has happened".

Several leading UKIP figures have questioned whether Mr Woolfe can take part in a new leadership contest - triggered by the resignation of Diane James after only 18 days - following the episode.

He said Woolfe objected to some of his remarks during a meeting of the party's MEPs.

UKIP's spokesperson has released a written statement of Woolfe, after he was taken to Hautepierre hospital.

Woolfe - the front-runner to be UKIP's next leader - suffered seizures and lost consciousness after clashing with another lawmaker Thursday during a party meeting at the legislative building in Strasbourg, France.

He added that Woolfe had emailed him on Friday morning asking to meet up and put the incident behind them.

Woolfe, 49, annoyed some party colleagues when he said recently that he had considered joining Britain's governing Conservatives.

Mr Woolfe yesterday declared his candidacy in the leadership election and is already being touted as the front-runner with backing from UKIP's biggest donor Arron Banks and Nigel Farage, who is now acting as interim leader.

It came two hours after he was allegedly punched by Ukip colleague Mike Hookem. The only effect at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left hand side of my face.

UKIP's interim party leader, Nigel Farage, has also said an investigation will take place next week. "He was taken to hospital".

The two Worcestershire MEPs representing UKIP say they were not present during the reportedly "heated" group meeting yesterday which led to the incident.

After the altercation Mr Woolfe carried on with his day, attending a session of the European Parliament, which he left early, and later collapsed.

An image posted by Britain's ITV channel showed Woolfe sprawled face-down on the wooden floor of a walkway with his hand still near his briefcase.

He warned that he would leave altogether if the party's "Tory troublemakers and fifth columnists" succeeded in preventing Mr Woolfe from running for leader for a second time.

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