Eric Joyce charged with Commons 'assault'

 

Labour MP Eric Joyce has been charged with assault following a late night fracas at a House of Commons bar in which a Tory rival was allegedly head-butted.

The former soldier, 51, was arrested on Wednesday amid claims Conservative Stuart Andrew had been attacked shortly before closing in the Strangers Bar, Parliament's pub for MPs.

Joyce, who has been suspended from the Labour party in the wake of the incident, was released on police bail last night after spending around 24 hours in custody.

Scotland Yard later confirmed the politician had been charged with three counts of common assault and will appear on bail at West London Magistrates' Court next month.

Joyce, the MP for Falkirk, was seen being driven away from the rear of Belgravia Police Station in central London in the back of a dark hatchback car at around 11.20pm following his release.

He was wearing a white shirt and dark suit and appeared pale and unshaven.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Eric Joyce, aged 51, an MP of Union Street, Bo'ness, West Lothian has been charged with three counts of common assault following an incident within the House of Commons on Wednesday, 22 February.

"He will appear on bail at West London Magistrates' Court on 7 March."

Police said they were called to a disturbance at the Palace of Westminster at around 10.50pm on Wednesday before making the arrest.

Mr Andrew, MP for Pudsey, had no visible cuts or bruises yesterday and responded to concerns about his welfare on Twitter by writing: "I'm ok."

Labour suspended Joyce from the party pending the results of the police investigation, branding the incident "extremely serious", though he remains an MP.

Following his arrest a Labour Party spokesman said: "This is an extremely serious incident. We have suspended Eric Joyce pending the results of the police investigation."

Speculation about the incident has been rife in Westminster but Commons Speaker John Bercow yesterday thwarted any attempt to raise the matter in the chamber by issuing a stern warning at the start of proceedings.

He told MPs: "I take this matter very seriously, as do the House authorities. I would ask that no further reference should be made to these reports in the Chamber."

Joyce, MP for Falkirk since December 2000, served in the Army Education Corps before pursuing a career in politics.

Tory backbencher Andrew Percy, one of those believed to have been caught up in the fracas, tweeted this morning that he felt "sorry" for Joyce.

Insisting he was "fine" after the incident, the Brigg and Goole MP added: "Tbh, I sort of feel sorry for him. People in a good place don't act like that. That's all I'll tweet on it!"

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn