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National News supplied bySky News

UKIP MEP Mike Hookem hits back over Woolfe fight claims

A fight between the two men at the European Parliament in Brussels earlier this month ended with Mr Woolfe in hospital.

Mr Woolfe, who has since resigned from UKIP, said he fell backwards and hit his head after being struck by Mr Hookem.

But Mr Hookem told Sky News: "There was a tussle, that's all it was. There were no punches thrown by me or him.

"When we got into the ante room - and that's all I'm guilty of - Mr Woolfe came at me and grabbed me round the shoulders (and) the chest area.

"There was a little bit of a tussle, it lasted seconds. The next thing I know is the door was opening and Mr Woolfe was going backwards into the room."

Mr Hookem said his version of events was supported by colleagues who were present at the time and an internal report by UKIP.

"I was nowhere near (Mr Woolfe) and I'm glad that the report shows that and that the other MEP colleagues who were in that room and witnessed what was said before and after have come out on my side."

Asked to explain how Mr Woolfe fell over, Mr Hookem replied: "I believe he opened the door and I believe he walked backwards into the room and fell over his own feet."

He added: "I was nowhere near him and that was borne out by one of my colleagues who walked into that room. I did not push Mr Woolfe through that door."

Earlier Mr Hookem became embroiled in a furious row with European Parliament president Martin Schulz about the incident.

It happened after Mr Schulz told MEPs the "version of facts given by the two members diverged substantially" and the row appeared to have "happened in the absence of witnesses".

But the evidence suggested Mr Woolfe collapsed as a "result of an attack on the head".

In an angry exchange, Mr Hookem challenged Mr Schulz to repeat his claims outside parliament, where he is protected from being sued, so he could take him to court.

Mr Schulz responded by saying: "I would have no problem at all to see you in court and would be pleased to do so." 

He repeated that he had reported both men to French police, adding: "What I find regrettable is that as president I have to report that one man struck another. That's the real scandal here."

When asked to comment by Sky News, Mr Hookem said: "In his position as president, for him to actually come out and say 'I believe one man against another' is ridiculous and it has prejudiced any case against me. Mr Schulz should know better."

He added: "At the end of the day I want this to be over and done with and hopefully by the end of today that will be it.

"I've got the punishment from the party (a reprimand). I'll accept that. I just want to get on with getting a new leader for the party."

© Sky News, 2016