Bercow calls for order in the House with crackdown on drinking culture

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Indy Politics

Commons Speaker John Bercow called time last night on Westminster's drinking culture following the brawl which led to the former Labour MP Eric Joyce's conviction for alcohol-fuelled violence.

Bar staff will be instructed to top up MPs' glasses less frequently and trained on how to refuse to serve inebriated customers. A wider range of non-alcoholic drinks and low-strength beers will be stocked at the 19 bars and restaurants on the parliamentary estate.

The Commons Commission, which is chaired by Mr Bercow, is also considering shortening the opening hours of Westminster's bars. At the moment some serve alcohol until the Commons rises, which occasionally is not until the small hours.

Mr Joyce pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault after head-butting Tory MPs Stuart Andrew and Ben Maney in a drunken frenzy in February.

The Falkirk MP, who now sits as an independent, admitted he had been lucky to escape jail after being fined by magistrates and receiving a pub banning order.

The Commission said it wants to "promote responsible alcohol use".