MP fined £3,000 (and banned from pubs) for fighting in Commons bar

Eric Joyce 'shamed' by attack on Tories and his Labour Whip and now faces party expulsion

A Labour MP has been spared jail despite attacking four politicians while drunk and telling police: "You can't touch me, I'm an MP".

Eric Joyce launched into the frenzied attack on the Tory MP Stuart Andrew in a House of Commons bar, before lashing out at political aides Luke Mackenzie and Ben Maney and a Labour Whip Phil Wilson

He then wrote in a police officer's notebook: "We are a Tory nation, that cannot be forever ... good cops unite."

Having pleaded guilty at Westminster magistrates' court, chief magistrate Howard Riddle yesterday fined him £3,000 and ordered him to pay £1,400 to the victims.

He was also given a 12-month community order – banning him from entering pubs and licensed premises for three months – and imposed with a curfew order from Friday to Sunday.

The MP for Falkirk, who accepted he was "hammered" during the brawl, expressed his "shame and embarrassment" at the attack. The 51-year-old said the fact that he was drinking was not an excuse "for the dreadful scenario that unfolded".

Joyce launched into a frenzied attack after shouting that the Strangers' Bar "was full of f****** Tories".

Witnesses to the brawl said "he was very angry, drunk, angrier than anyone", said Zoe Martin, for the prosecution. One onlooker said his "eyes looked like nobody was home".

Joyce, while sobering up in the cells told police of one of his victims: "I think he was a silly fat Tory MP. He was pushing like a girl and giving me a bearhug."

Sentencing Mr Joyce, Mr Riddle said: "What you have done has not only brought physical harm [and] shame on yourself ... but it has also damaged the place where you work, the place where laws are made."

He took into account Joyce's previous conviction for drink-driving but gave the defendant credit for his early pleas.

Outside court, Joyce said: "I've been duly punished today. I've been lucky to avoid prison. I'm very ashamed, of course." He said he wanted to apologise to a "long list" of people he had let down, including his constituents and fellow MPs. But he said he did not intend to stand down as an MP before the next election. "It would be easy but I was elected in 2000 and I will continue serving," he said.

Under the Representation of the People Act 1981, MPs are disqualified from the House of Commons only if they are convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to 12 months or more in jail.

Joyce has already said that he will stand down from Parliament at the next general election, expected in 2015.

A Scottish Labour Party spokesman said: "Eric Joyce was immediately suspended from the party. He remains suspended following the completion of the legal process and the Labour Party's disciplinary process will now take place."

A senior source in the national party said: "This is a process that will lead to his expulsion from the party."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there