Potential UKIP leader Steven Woolfe was thought to have been in “life-threatening” condition after he was punched by a fellow party member. Witnesses have said that Woolfe was hit by MEP and former soldier, Mike Hookem, who is also the party’s spokesman on defense. Sky News reports that Woolfe collapsed hit his head against a metal pole around 30 minutes after the fight. No arrests have been made yet in the assault which occurred on the morning of October 6.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hookem Had Been Backing Hitler-Praising Bill Etheridge In the UKIP Leadership Race
Steven Woolfe is the favorite to succeed former leader Diane James, who resigned after just over two weeks as UKIP party boss. According to his Facebook page, Hookem was backing Bill Etheridge to be leader. Etheridge had picked Hookem as his running mate. Though it was Woolfe who had the backing of UKIP donor, Arron Banks. Banks had told the Independent, said that Woolfe was “the only candidate who can do it.”
In an October 4 tweet, Hookem said, “We selected the last leader based on style. Perhaps next time we should try substance.”
2. During His 2014 Election Campaign, Hookem Had Business Cards With the Word ‘Independence’ Misspelled
Hookem was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and Humber in May 2014. He has been a party member since 2008. In the 2010 general election, Hookem finished fourth in the constituency of Hull East. Prior to his election to the European Parliament, Hookem had been the party chairman in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
Upon his election, Hookem told the Hull Daily Mail, “Over the last two years I’ve just concentrated on working for UKIP, living off a small pension I’ve managed to build up. This is all a bit of dream.” The article mentions that Hookem had previously worked as a “bus and lorry driver, a carpenter and a joiner and, more recently, in property management.”
Hookem later told BBC Sheffield that despite his election, he wouldn’t be attending any debates in Strasbourg. During his election campaign, it was found by satire magazine Private Eye that Hookem had been handing out business cards with the word “independence” spelled as “independance.” Hookem later said that because the business cards went viral, he received death threats, reported the Grimsby Telegraph.
3. Hookem Claimed That Refugees Had Pulled a Gun on Him While He Made a Documentary in France
In August 2015, Hookem claimed that while making a documentary on the refugee crisis in Calais, France, a person pulled a gun on him. Officials said that the gunman was unlikely to have been a refugee and more likely was someone involved in the smuggling trade.
He told the International Business Times at the time, “The shouting was threatening and it was starting to pick up. I said to everyone ‘Ok we need to back out.’ My sound man said ‘he’s actually just pulled a gun on us’ and by this time we were moving out of the camp as fast as we could.”
The Daily Express later reported that Hookem took credit for stopping 25 immigrants from entering the United Kingdom.
4. Hookem Is a Regular Blogger on Breitbart
In addition to his work for UKIP in the European Parliament, Hookem is a regular blogger at right wing news site, Breitbart. His last article was published on September 27 and was related to a conspiracy theory about a European Union army. Another article was titled, “The ABC Of Why Obama Is Wrong: 26 Companies That Won’t Want Britain At The Back Of The Queue.”
5. Woolfe Did Not Suffer Any Blood Clots on His Brain
Woolfe released a statement shortly after he was hospitalized, it says that a CT scan revealed he had “no blood clot in the brain.” He adds that he is being held overnight as a precaution. Woolfe also says, “I am sitting up and said to be looking well. The only consequence at the moment is a bit of numbness on the left hand side of my face.”
Interim party leader Nigel Farage said in a brief statement that, “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.”