Douglas Carswell is ‘shocked and appalled’ after Steven Woolfe rushed to hospital after meeting altercation

Photo credit: ITV. Video grab taken from PA.

Photo credit: ITV. Video grab taken from PA. - Credit: PA

Douglas Carswell has said he is 'shocked and appalled' after Ukip leadership favourite Steven Woolfe was taken to hospital following an altercation at a meeting of the party's MEPs.

Mr Woolfe is reported to be in a 'life-threatening condition' after being allegedly punched during the course of an argument.

The incident took place during what was said to be a heated discussion at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Mr Carswell, the Ukip Clacton MP, said on Twitter: 'Shocked and appalled to hear about what happened to Steve Woolfe. Thinking of him.'

A photograph posted on the ITV News website showed the MEP lying spread-eagled and face-down on a gangway clutching a briefcase with an attendant leaning over him.

In a brief statement, party leader Nigel Farage said: 'I deeply regret that, following an altercation that took place at a meeting of Ukip MEPs this morning, Steven Woolfe subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital. His condition is serious.'

A Ukip spokesman added: 'He has been taken to hospital in the city and he is undergoing tests.'

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The incident happened a day after Mr Woolfe declared that he was a candidate for the leadership following the shock resignation of Diane James just 18 days after she was elected to the post.

According to one source, it took place at what was described as a 'clear-the-air meeting' with a group of MEPs who had been unhappy at his admission that he had considered defecting to the Conservatives.

In his statement announcing his candidacy, Mr Woolfe said he had been 'enthused' by Theresa May's start to her premiership, prompting him 'as it did many of my friends and colleagues, to wonder whether our future was within her new Conservative Party'.

Fellow leadership contender Raheem Kassam wrote on Twitter: 'I've just heard Steven Woolfe's condition is life-threatening. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.'

North East England Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott told LBC he was not present at the meeting where the altercation occured, but was with Mr Woolfe later.

He said: 'The bit that I can't comment on are the rumours about what happened earlier in the morning because I wasn't present, I was wasn't party to that.

'What I can say is that I was in the European Parliament voting session at midday, Strasbourg time, and Steven Woolfe was at that voting meeting together with with all the MEPs from across the country.

'It appears that he left that meeting early, we don't know why that was, but he probably left that meeting early because he was feeling ill, because normally when you are voting in the European Parliament you stay there to the end, so presumably he was feeling ill at that point, left the chamber and then collapsed outside the chamber.'