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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas