Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim has been appointed to lead the European Parliament’s investigation into yesterday’s “altercation” involving Steven Woolfe, just hours after he publicly mocked Mr Woolfe on Twitter.
The Conservative MEP, who defected from the Liberal Democrats in 2007 and is a staunch Europhile, took to Twitter after Mr Woolfe collapsed yesterday to make light of the fact he was receiving treatment with in the European Union.
While Mr Woolfe was in hospital being treated for what was feared at the time to be bleeding on the brain, Sajjad Karim tweeted:
— Sajjad Karim MEP (@SHKMEP) October 6, 2016
His comment was roundly condemned, with one user commenting: “Is this idiot Sajjid [sic] @SHKMEP a Tory? Looks like it – no surprise then, still the nasty party despite what May says!Didn’t believe her anyway.”
A councillor from Mr Karim’s own party added: “Sajjid, have you no shame? A totally incentive & shameful comment [sic].”
Earlier Friday, Mr Karim also tweeted out an article suggesting UKIP MEPs would lose funding over the incident.
— Sajjad Karim MEP (@SHKMEP) October 7, 2016
However, it has now emerged that European Parliament President Martin Schulz has appointed Mr Karim to lead the investigation into yesterday’s altercation.
NEW: Parliament President Martin Schulz appoints @SHKMEP to lead investigation into Woolfe incident, told CCTV and witnesses being analysed.
— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) October 7, 2016
Mr Karim previously caused controversy in the run-up to the Brexit referendum after claiming UKIP leader Nigel Farage “would have been dealt with” while out campaigning if it were not for the presence of TV cameras.
In 2013, he even compared UKIP to the Taliban. When asked about his comments, he doubled down, saying: “I have not used that term lightly, that’s exactly what they are.”
Commenting on the appointment, UKIP leadership candidate Raheem Kassam called for party staff to boycott the investigation.
“The European Parliament placing an overtly UKIP-hostile MEP, Sajjad Karim, in charge of its investigation into yesterday’s altercation involving Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem is quite frankly a joke,” he said.
“Karim has form in trying to undermine UKIP and Steven Woolfe at every turn, including yesterday when Mr. Woolfe’s condition was still unknown. Karim, who mauls people like a dead sheep via his Twitter trolling, is also already tweeting out articles speculating over a denial of funding for UKIP from the EuroParl over the incident. He cannot be impartial in this process, and he should refuse the position as a result.
“While Mr. Karim is in charge, I would urge members of UKIP staff in Brussels and Strasbourg to refuse to work with the investigation, and work instead with UKIP’s internal party investigation. When the EU Parliament wants to get serious, then we should work with them. Not before”.