Ukip’s Steven Woolfe has claimed MEP Mike Hookem “came at me and landed a blow” in an altercation over the party’s leadership contest. Mr Woolfe told the Daily Mail that Mr Hookem lost his temper and pushed him into a door frame during a meeting designed to clear the air between Ukip’s MEPs. Mr Woolfe later collapsed and was taken to hospital in a “serious” condition, before feeling better. Mr Hookem denied he hit his colleague and suggested the MEP for North West England tripped instead. ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston earlier told News At Ten that Mr Woolfe, 49, hit his head on a wall during an altercation before collapsing.
UKIP has launched an inquiry after one of its MEPs was taken to hospital following an altercation with a colleague in the European Parliament. Steven Woolfe collapsed after the incident at a meeting in Strasbourg. Mr Woolfe, 49 – among the favourites to be the party’s next leader – had a precautionary brain scan and is expected to be released later. UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said there would be a full investigation and “appropriate action” if necessary. The incident, understood to be between Mr Woolfe and fellow MEP Mike Hookem, took place during a heated UKIP meeting in the European Parliament. UKIP sources said “a rumbustious argument” had taken place following claims Mr Woolfe had been considering defecting to the Conservative Party. Accounts of what followed vary, with Mr Woolfe quoted in the Daily Mail as saying a punch was thrown at him.
UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe has claimed a party colleague at the European Parliament “came at me and landed a blow” in a row over the party’s leadership contest. Mr Woolfe, 49, is recovering in hospital after he collapsed and was briefly unconscious following the incident at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday. He suffered two seizures – one of them “quite major” following the argument, according to acting UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has ordered an inquiry into the incident. “We’re talking about a dispute which ended up physically,” Mr Farage said, adding there were briefly concerns whether Mr Woolfe “was going to make it”.
UKIP has been rocked after the frontrunner to take over as leader spent the night in hospital following an apparent altercation at a meeting of MEPs. One insider claimed: “Steven challenged Mike. He said to him – if that’s the tone you want to take with me, why don’t you step outside. “They can only have been out of the room for five or six seconds. Everyone is really shocked and hoping Steven makes a full recovery as quickly as possible.” Another source claimed: “Words were said.” French police said they were not investigating any incident. Mr Hookem’s spokeswoman Trixy Sanderson denied that he had hit Mr Woolfe. She said: “Mike punched no one. He was not there when Steven fell over as he was on his way to collect me. I could not ask for a kinder employer.”
UKIP leadership favourite Steven Woolfe was knocked out in a brawl with a fellow MEP over claims he considered defecting to the Tories. The married dad of one, 49, banged his head on a metal bar after allegedly being punched in the face by former pal and ex-commando Mike Hookem , 62. Mr Woolfe got up and walked off but collapsed two hours later at the European Parliament’s HQ in Strasbourg, France. Speaking from his hospital bed last night he claimed: “Mike came at me and landed a blow. He was obviously very angry and lost his temper. “I wasn’t bruising for a scrap. I asked to deal with the matter outside the room because it was upsetting everybody in our meeting. “Mike clearly read that totally the wrong way. The door frame took the biggest hit after I was shoved into it. I knew I’d taken a whack and was pretty shaken.”
An MEP has revealed he had two seizures after being punched by a UKIP colleague in the European Parliament. Speaking to the Mail from his hospital bed, Steven Woolfe said Mike Hookem ‘came at me and landed a blow’. The astonishing altercation took place in Strasbourg yesterday morning. ‘Mike was obviously very angry and lost his temper,’ said Mr Woolfe, who is favourite to be the party’s next leader. At one stage it was feared the married father of one was fighting for his life. A tearful Nigel Farage was battling to stop the party breaking apart and UKIP’s biggest donor threatened to quit. Mr Hookem strenuously denied punching his colleague and his allies accused Mr Woolfe of tripping over. But the clash plunged UKIP into fresh turmoil 48 hours after leader Diane James resigned just 18 days into the job.
Neil Hamilton, the leader of Ukip in Wales, was strongly criticised by senior party figures last night after appearing to suggest that Steven Woolfe might have started the fight that led to him being taken to hospital. The former Conservative minister also said that Nigel Farage, the party’s most prominent figure, was partly responsible. Mr Hamilton told the BBC: “I understand there was an argument between some MEPs and Steven, I think, picked a fight with one of them and came off worst.
Diane Abbott has been promoted to shadow home secretary in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn front bench reshuffle. Ex-Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti is shadow attorney general and Keir Starmer, who left the team in June amid a wave of resignations, returns as shadow Brexit secretary. But Dame Rosie Winterton, who had tried to negotiate between Mr Corbyn and many of his MPs, is out as chief whip. Mr Corbyn’s critics have suggested the reshuffle will fail to unify the party. One senior figure said the reshuffle so far looked “vengeful and cackhanded”, while writing on Twitter Middlesbrough South MP Tom Blenkinsop accused Mr Corbyn of “seeking submission not unity”. It is understood that some Labour MPs who were thinking about returning to the front bench are now reconsidering.
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of abandoning plans to reunite the party after sacking moderate chief whip Rosie Winterton and appointing his allies to key front bench positions. In the first move of the reshuffle of his top team, the Labour leader has replaced Ms Winterton with Nick Brown, a long-standing ally of former leader Gordon Brown. Sky’s senior political correspondent Darren McCaffrey said some Labour MPs have told him “they are shocked and aggrieved” by the “very unfair treatment” of Ms Winterton”, adding that “discussions could lead to resignations”.
JEREMY Corbyn has provoked a backlash after appointing long-term ally and pal Diane Abbott as shadow home secretary. Ms Abbott, 63, has been elevated from her position as shadow health secretary to fill the void vacated by Andy Burnham, who is running to be Greater Manchester mayor. Mr Corbyn, re-elected as Labour leader 12 days ago, also sacked chief whip Rosie Winterton and replaced her with Nick Brown. Shami Chakrabati, who oversaw a review into anti-Semitism in Labour which was criticised as a “whitewash”, joins the party’s top team as shadow attorney general.
JEREMY Corbyn provoked fury by naming controversial ally Diane Abbott shadow home secretary to speak for Labour on immigration, policing and counter-terror policy. He promoted her to the sensitive post at the start of an explosive reshuffle of his top team seen by opponents as a declaration of war. Other major changes including sacking veteran Chief Whip Dame Rosie Winterton and, as predicted, making Baroness Shami Chakrabarti Shadow Attorney General weeks after she was accused of writing a “whitewash” report for him about anti-semitism in Labour. The appointment of Ms Abbott, a close ally, supporter and one-time girlfriend of fellow north London MP Mr Corbyn, was seen as a particularly provocative move. She moves from Shadow Health Secretary to replace Andy Burnham who has stood down to focus on his campaign to be elected Greater Manchester Mayor next year. One anonymous Labour MP commented: “Diane Abbott is now in charge of our response to security, terror and immigration. Do they want anyone to vote for us again?”
JEREMY Corbyn has given key jobs to his cronies as he embarks on another Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. The hapless leftie has appointed his key ally Diane Abbott as the Shadow Home Secretary and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti has been made the Shadow Attorney General. Miss Abbott and Mr Corbyn were said to have been lovers in the late 1970s and were described as the “dreadful duo” when they worked together as councillors in north London. Labour peer Ms Chakrabarti took her seat in the House of Lords under a cloud of controversy last month. She was offered a peerage by the Labour leader after overseeing a report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party described by Jewish groups as a “whitewash”. Mr Corbyn has appointed Sarah Champion as the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister and given Jo Stevens the job of Shadow Secretary State for Wales. Remarkably, Champion is now the Labour party’s voice on domestic violence despite weeks ago admitting she was thrown in police cells after being accused of assault against her ex-husband.
Jeremy Corbyn kicked off a reshuffle of his shadow cabinet by sacking Chief Whip Rosie Winterton. A number of changes to his top team had been expected to take place early next week, but he made 11 new appointments on Thursday . One of the top positions went to close ally Diane Abbott , who was promoted to Shadow Home Secretary. A number of MPs also returned to the front bench in today’s appointments, after scores left following the EU Referendum. Sarah Champion, took the post as Shadow Women and Equalities Minister and Jonathan Reynolds, who quit in January, came back as Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury .
Tony Blair has refused to rule out a return to British politics in an interview in which he predicts that the centre ground will rise again in the Labour party. The former prime minister said he is still trying to find a political role which will help the party to become electable. In an interview with Esquire magazine, he said the centre of British politics will rise again and he does not rule out a role in that rise. “I don’t know if there’s a role for me,” he said. “There’s a limit to what I want to say about my own position at this moment. All I can say is that this is where politics is at. Do I feel strongly about it? Yes, I do. Am I very motivated by that? Yes. Where do I go from here? What exactly do I do? That’s an open question.
Tony Blair has suggested he might return to politics in order to battle the Conservative Party’s vision of Brexit Britain. In an interview with Esquire magazine, the former Prime Minister said the Tories had created a “one-party state” in the face of a weak Labour Party. He said his future role was “an open question”. “I don’t know if there’s a role for me… There’s a limit to what I want to say about my own position at this moment,” he said. “All I can say is that this is where politics is at. Do I feel strongly about it? Yes, I do. Am I very motivated by that? Yes. Where do I go from here? What exactly do I do? That’s an open question.” The former Labour leader announced in September that he was winding down his business consultancy and donating the reserves to charity. He said at the time that he would spend 80 per cent of his time on charitable causes.
Tony Blair today indicates he is planning a dramatic return to front line politics to prevent Britain becoming a ‘one-party state’. In an extraordinary interview with Esquire magazine, the former Prime Minister acknowledges he is deeply unpopular in Britain in the wake of the Iraq war. But he says he is ‘very motivated’ to try and save the brand of centre-left politics which saw him win three elections, but which has now been abandoned by Labour. Asked about his own position, he drops a tantalising hint that he is gearing up for a return, saying: ‘I don’t know if there’s a role for me. There’s a limit to what I want to say about my own position at this moment. ‘All I can say is that this is where politics is at. Do I feel strongly about it? Yes, I do. Am I very motivated by that? Yes. Where do I go from here? What exactly do I do? That’s an open question.’ In a withering attack on Jeremy Corbyn, he brands him a member of the ‘ultra- Left’ which ‘believes that the action on the street is as important as the action in Parliament’.
Tony Blair has indicated that he is preparing to return to British politics to prevent the “tragedy” of Britain becoming a “one-party state”. The former Prime Minister warned that the rise of the hard-left in Labour means that “the centre ground is in retreat” as he urged moderate politicians to “rise to the challenge”. It comes after Mr Blair announced that he is closing down his business empire following years of criticism over his money-making ventures.
The British media should refrain from reporting the specifics of Islamic terrorism to avoid creating a backlash against Muslims, according to a report by a committee of the Council of Europe. British politicians including David Cameron and Nigel Farage also came in for criticism, accused of fuelling a rise in xenophobia, Islamophobia, and hate speech in the UK. The 83-page report , by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), notes what it calls a “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration” and says that “hate speech continues to be a serious problem in tabloid newspapers”. It also suggested that online hate speech “targeting Muslims in particular has soared” over the last three years. The ECRI, based in Strasbourg, France, is a human rights panel of the Council of Europe, an international organisation of 47 member states dedicated to promoting human rights and the rule of law within Europe.
French President Francois Hollande has insisted the EU must take a firm line with the UK after Theresa May signalled she backed a so-called “hard Brexit”. Mr Hollande said Britain wanted to leave the bloc “but doesn’t want to pay”, which he argued was “not possible”. His comments come after the Prime Minister told party activists she wanted British firms to have “the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within the single market”, but not at the expense of allowing free movement or accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Angela Merkel has stressed that the UK cannot have access to the EU’s internal market after Brexit if it limits immigration from the bloc. The German Chancellor said that giving Britain full access to free trade across Europe’s border but allowing it to restrict the movement of people would lead to a free-for-all. “If we don’t say that full access to the internal market is linked to full acceptance of the four fundamental freedoms, a process will spread in Europe in which everyone does what they want,” she said.
A migrant mutiny has left Spanish police scrambling to capture 26 people who escaped from a detention centre on the day the EU launched its new border force. One migrant feigned illness to distract officers, leaving the others to attack police with fire extinguishers injuring five. The mob, made up mostly of Algerian migrants, were some of the 70 foreigners without residence permits held in the Sangonera la Verde centre near the south-eastern city of Murcia. The incident happened as the European Union launched a new border force in a desperate attempt to try and stem the flow of migrants. ‘One of the foreigners first pretended to be ill, and when the ambulance came to take him away, the others rose up in mutiny,’ a police spokeswoman said. During the revolt, men ‘grabbed fire extinguishers and various items to throw them,’ she said, adding that five police officers were slightly injured.
The Scotland Yard unit which deals with some of the force’s most sensitive police inquiries has been “corrupted” by a firm of private investigators, leaked documents seen by The Telegraph reveal. The company – RISC management – was run by retired detectives who are thought to have targeted former police colleagues to secure information about the progress of sensitive Metropolitan Police inquiries. Internal Scotland Yard documents described them as operating like “an organised crime network”. Scotland Yard set up its own anti-corruption investigation into the relationship between RISC and officers working in SCD6, the economic and specialist crime division of the force. SCD6 has investigated some of the country’s most high-profile and sensitive criminal cases including the “cash for honours” probe into whether Tony Blair’s government had offered peerages to big donors and the MPs’ expenses scandal.