UKIP Member’s ‘Violent’ Incident Prompts EU Parliament Probeby
EU lawmaker Woolfe remains in hospital in Strasbourg, France
Incident may have ‘judicial consequences,’ assembly head says
Steven Woolfe, a European Parliament member who belongs to the U.K. Independence Party, was involved in a “violent” altercation in the assembly on Thursday before collapsing unconscious and being rushed to a hospital, according to the institution’s leader, who ordered a probe into the incident.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Union legislature, said on Friday that the incident in Strasbourg, France, may have “judicial consequences” and that, beyond those, an EU Parliament advisory committee would as a “matter of urgency” assess whether the assembly’s code of conduct was violated. Woolfe remains hospitalized in the eastern French city.
“The reported facts are extremely serious,” Schulz said in an e-mailed statement. “Disrespectful and violent behavior does not have a place in the European Parliament.” He didn’t elaborate.
The encounter came a day after Woolfe announced his intention to stand in the leadership contest for UKIP, which helped persuade 52 percent of British voters in a June referendum to opt for leaving the 28-nation EU. The party has been seeking a new chief after longtime leader Nigel Farage resigned upon achieving his Brexit goal and Diane James stepped down from the job this month after 18 days.
On Thursday, the UKIP press office sent an e-mailed statement in which Woolfe said he underwent a CT scan that showed he had no clot in the brain and he was feeling “brighter, happier and smiling as ever.” The statement said Woolfe suffered two “epileptic-like fits” at about 12:30 p.m. in the Parliament’s headquarters and subsequent tests showed no bleeding on his brain.
“I am sitting up, and said to be looking well,” Woolfe said in the statement on Thursday. “The only consequence at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left-hand side of my face.”
On Friday, Nathan Gill, another EU Parliament member who belongs to UKIP, said in an e-mailed statement that Woolfe was in “good form” and would stay in the Strasbourg hospital’s neurological ward for observation over “the next couple of days.”
After Woolfe on Thursday called the people including hospital staff who helped him “brilliant,” Gill said his colleague “is sick of croissants and is looking forward to having a full English breakfast.”