Ukip frontrunner Steven Woolfe collapses after "altercation" at party meeting

An ally of Nigel Farage, Woolfe is seen as a rising star. 

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Steven Woolfe, tipped by some to be the next leader of Ukip after Diane James's resignation, has collapsed after an altercation in Brussels. 

Woolfe, an ally of interim leader Nigel Farage in Ukip's bitter factional struggle, has been taken to hospital and is in a serious condition. He collapsed in the European parliament, hours after a dispute with a fellow Ukip MEP led to violence. 

Farage said: "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."

Woolfe's rival for the leadership race, Raheem Kassam, another Farage ally, cancelled a TV appearance and tweeted: "It would not be respectful to campaign while Steven is unwell."

Update: 

In a statement, Woolfe said that he felt some numbness on the left of his face but was sitting up: "The CT scan has shown that there is no blood clot in the brain. At the moment I am feeling brighter, happier, and smiling as ever. As a precaution, I am being kept in overnight awaiting secondary tests to make sure everything is fine.

"I would like everyone to know that the parliamentary staff, the Ukip MEPs with me and hospital staff have been brilliant."

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.