The Brief: UKIP leadership frontrunner hospitalised after EU Parliament fight

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From now on, UKIP’s new motto should be “C’mon lets settle this outside.” Not outside the European Union. Outside in the street, fighting.

UKIP is tearing itself apart. Steven “Big Bad” Woolfe, the hot favourite to be the next leader, was today hospitalised after a fight in the European Parliament with another UKIP MEP.

The fistfight was caused by Woolfe’s recent admission he had held talks with the Conservative Party about defecting to the Tories.

Woolfe allegedly took off his jacket and invited one MEP to step outside and settle the disagreement like men.

Punches were thrown by both men before it was broken up. Woolfe went to a voting session. Feeling unwell 20 minutes later, he left the room and collapsed in front of ITV cameras.

Woolfe is now sitting up in his hospital bed. He said, “At the moment I am feeling brighter, happier, and smiling as ever.”

The controversy is the latest to hit the party after UKIP chief Diane James’ shock resignation after just 18 days in charge. That was triggered by a falling out with her MEPs in the European Parliament.

Woolfe had wanted to stand against James before her election. But he sent in his application forms 17 minutes late and was disqualified. He has now revived his leadership bid.

The catalogue of gaffes comes as UKIP searches for a role after the vote to Brexit. The governing Conservative Party  has co-opted much of its anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the iconic Farage has said he has no intention of leading the party again.

To many in Brussels, the Strasbourg bruising is just the latest in a line of self-inflicted blows by British politicians after Brexit.

Perhaps the Brits, whose politicians increasingly resemble the football hooligan offspring of Golden Dawn and Mr Bean, won’t be missed after all.

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The Queen of Jordan wants Europe to rethink its approach to the refugee crisis. Meanwhile the European border agency was inaugurated on the Bulgaria-Turkey border.

Bulgaria’s leader has apologised to Mogherini for issuing a migration ultimatum. But have the Greeks been shooting migrants?

Kristalina Georgieva will be returning to Brussels after the UN picked another man to be its Secretary-General, former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Gutterres.

Another former Portuguese PM, and ex Commission president, José Manuel Barroso was referred to an “ad-hoc ethics committee” for taking the Goldman Sachs shilling. The European Commission confirmed Neelie Kroes has now also been referred to the committee after the Bahamas Leaks scandal.

The Polish government has backtracked on its plans to ban abortion. Despite some last minute Polish shenanigans, the Paris Agreement on climate change will now take effect on 4 November and most cities now see climate action as an economic opportunity.

The European Parliament has given some leeway to Spain and Portugal before an expected suspension of EU funds. Check EURACTIV for the story later.


Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is in Washington for IMF and World Bank meetings.


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