Under pressure to quit: MP Eric Joyce banned from buying alcohol in House of Commons after arrest for alleged second drunken brawl
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.
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Christian blogger says she will not wear leggings in public because they entice men and cause them to look at her 'lustfully'
- 4 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...