Under pressure to quit: MP Eric Joyce banned from buying alcohol in House of Commons after arrest for alleged second drunken brawl

 

Deputy Political Editor 

The independent MP Eric Joyce was under growing pressure last night to resign his seat after being arrested for the second time in just over a year over an alleged brawl at a parliamentary bar.

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, announced Mr Joyce would be banned indefinitely from buying alcohol in the 27 places – including eight bars – where it is served at Westminster.

The fracas – which ended with him being restrained by several police officers – looked likely to spell an early end to his political career.

Mr Joyce resigned from Labour last year after being fined £3,000 over the previous incident, but insisted he would continue as the MP for Falkirk until the next election in 2015.

However, both Labour and the Scottish National Party last night suggested he should step down early.

Mr Joyce, who has admitted having a serious drinking problem, also attracted widespread expressions of sympathy from fellow politicians.

A neighbouring Labour MP, Michael Connarty, said Mr Joyce, a former army major, was suffering “combat stress” that had been exacerbated by alcohol and the break-up of his family.

The Tory MP, Sarah Wollaston, who is a GP, said: “Eric Joyce is just one of hundreds of thousands who have lost control of their drinking. Westminster is blind to drinking problems.”

Mr Joyce was still in custody yesterday following the altercation on Thursday night at the parliamentary Sports and Social Club where about 150 revellers – mainly researchers and staff – were taking part in a karaoke night.

It is understood to come after a barman told the MP he was not allowed to take his drink to a smoking area outside the club.

An eyewitness, Tony Grew, the parliamentary editor with PoliticsHome.com, said: “Joyce was shoving his way through the crowd quite roughly. From the look on his face it was clear something was going to happen.”

Mr Grew told The Independent: “I saw him with two police officers encouraging him to leave the parliamentary estate … the next I knew he was on the ground with them, a bin was knocked over, a policeman’s helmet was rolling on the ground. It looked to me as if he had one of them in an armlock. At least four or five more officers turned up and held him on the ground.”

Mr Joyce admitted he was lucky to escape jail after a clash last February in the Strangers’ Bar in the Commons in which he headbutted Tory rivals Stuart Andrew and Ben Maney, punched Tory councillor Luke Mackenzie and Labour whip Phillip Wilson and swore at police.

A Tory MP caught up in last year’s fracas, Alec Shelbrooke, said: “I will be talking about it to a number of my colleagues who were involved last time to see if we want to take it further.”

Labour won a majority of nearly 8,000 in Falkirk with Mr Joyce as candidate at the last election. Last night party sources said: "We think the people of Falkirk should have proper representation. There are at least questions about whether Eric Joyce is able to do that.”

A spokesman for the SNP, the main challengers in the constituency, said the MP’s position was “entirely regrettable”. But he added: “Mr Joyce needs to consider his position because the people of Falkirk deserve to have an effective representative in the House of Commons.”

His conduct raised fresh questions last night over whether constituents should be given the power to “recall” errant MPs. Under current rules, they only forfeit their seat automatically if they receive a prison sentence of more than 12 months.

Both Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg have backed the concept of recall, but are yet to announce moves to legislate for it. A spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister insisted plans would be announced by 2015.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
John Cleese is promoting his new book
people
News
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
news
News
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
News
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game