The Sketch: Whisper it, but the House is in awe of Eric, the stormin' door man

There's often something wrong with MPs. It's what makes them interesting

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The Independent Online

What's that in the door, it's not Joyce, is it? Glass panels in the double doors leading to the Terrace had been replaced with cardboard. The policeman on the Terrace door laughed and said it was. "Not really?" Yes, really. And with a boot too, it was said.

He was fit all right, those panels are well above waist height. He was a fighting man. Army. And last night it took five men to hold him. And then it was eight – eight men! And policemen, eight policemen!

That has a heroic quality about it. That is the real thing. That's not pussyfooting with John Prescott. No one will say these things out loud but that's what is said with a sort of embarrassed admiration, in discreet huddles.

Officially, the Commons went about its business with magnificent imperturbability. The Liaison Committee me t and took much wise evidence about improving select committees.

And then the Speaker told the Commons in his most responsible manner that no reference was to be made to the fracas.

There was no outrage observable, though. Rather the opposite. The victims of the alleged assault would be well within their rights to press charges. But where people were talking about it there was more indulgence than indignation.

He's a handsome man. People like him. He's a Scot. He hates Tories. Underneath official sorrow and condemnation these are, in certain parts of the body politic, extenuating circumstances.

There's often something wrong with MPs – it's what makes them interesting.

He left the Army calling it sexist, racist and discriminatory. He signed the famous letter calling for his Prime Minister's resignation.

He quit as PPS with a splendidly hectoring letter to Gordon Brown about Afghanistan.

Maybe there's something about him that doesn't want to belong to a club that would have him as a member. It's a problem the poor fellow may not have to deal with for long.

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