Thursday, 23 February 2012

Labour MP Eric Joyce suspended after 'head-butting' Tory Stuart Andrew in House of Commons bar

 

The 51-year-old remains MP for Falkirk but cannot take the Labour whip in the Commons until the conclusion of the police investigation. 'This is an extremely serious incident,' a Labour party spokesperson said. 'We have suspended Eric Joyce pending the results of the police investigation.' Mr Joyce is said to have been arrested after the incident involving Tory MP Stuart Andrew at the Strangers bar, which is reserved for MPs and their guests, in the House of Commons before 11pm yesterday. 'We were called at approximately 10.50pm last night to reports of a disturbance at a bar within the House of Commons,' a statement from the Metropolitan police said. 'A man aged in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault. He remains in custody in a central London police station. Inquiries are continuing.' Reports said Mr Andrew, the 40-year-old Tory MP for Pudsey, intended to press charges against Mr Joyce over the incident. An eyewitness who did not wish to be named told the website PoliticsHome that Mr Joyce 'just started lashing out at people' after complaining the bar was 'full of Tories'. Speaking in the Commons after news of Mr Joyce's arrest, Speaker John Bercow said: 'Members will be aware of reports of a serious incident in the House last night. I have been informed by the Serjeant at Arms that the honourable member for Falkirk has been detained in police custody. 'The matter is being investigated. I take this matter very seriously, as do the House authorities. I would ask that no further reference should be made to these reports in the chamber today.' Mr Joyce, MP for Falkirk since December 2000, served in the Army Education Corps before pursuing a career in politics. In 2009 he quit as parliamentary private secretary to defence secretary Bob Ainsworth due to concerns of the war in Afghanistan. A year later he resigned as shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland for pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath test. Labour MP Paul Farrelly was involved in a brawl in an unrelated incident at another Commons bar in 2010. The MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme 'wrested' a man to the floor in 'self-defence after an altercation at a karaoke party in parliament's Sports and Social Club.

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