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.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Marketing Manager - Central London - £45,000-£55,000 + bonus

£45000 - £55000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: The focus of this is to deve...

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape