UKIP lawmaker quits leadership bid after 'altercation' lands him in hospital

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Story highlights

  • Steven Woolfe says UKIP is "ungovernable without Nigel Farage"
  • He asserts that Hookem punched him first and says he intends to continue as an independent MEP

(CNN)A UK right wing lawmaker who wound up sprawled unconscious on the floor of the European Parliament after announcing his intention to run for his party's leadership has resigned.

"It is with deep sorrow and regret that I am aborting my leadership campaign and announcing my resignation from UKIP with immediate effect," UKIP's Steven Woolfe said in a statement posted Monday on his website.
    Woolfe expressed dismay at his party's future, calling out internal drama within the anti-immigration party responsible for Brexit's leave campaign victory.
    "I believe that a strong UKIP would hold this government's feet to the fire and make sure it delivers a clean Brexit," he said. "However, I have come to the conclusion that UKIP is ungovernable without Nigel Farage leading it and the referendum cause to unite it."
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    "The party is riddled with infighting, proxy wars between rival camps and is run by an NEC that is not fit for purpose," Woolfe said. He also said he intends to continue as an independent MEP.
    Earlier this month, Woolfe and Mike Hookem of the UK Independence Party were involved in an "altercation" in Strasbourg, France that landed Woolfe in the hospital. He later said he was treated for "epileptic-like fits" and "numbness on the left hand side of his body."
    Hookem denied having thrown a punch, and accused Woolfe of starting it.
    "I never threw a punch. I never assaulted him. I will stand my corner," Hookem said in an interview with the BBC. Woolfe asserts that Hookem punched him first.
    The scuffle also landed the two on UK tabloid covers featuring the unforgettable image of Woolfe sprawled out face down on the floor.
    Farage called it "two grown men involved in an altercation," adding, "It's not very seemly behavior."