By election looms as Scottish Labour MP charged with three counts of common assault


By a Newsnet reporter
The Labour party is facing the prospect of a by-election in Falkirk as it emerged that Eric Joyce has been charged with three counts of common assault.
Mr Joyce is being held in a London Police station following allegations that he went berserk and attacked a Tory MP.

The incident at Strangers Bar in the House of Commons ended with Mr Joyce being arrested by five policemen.

It has also emerged that several Labour whips tried to restrain their out of control Scottish colleague as the incident got out of hand.

Eye witnesses have described how Mr Joyce went “berserk” as he complained loudly that there were too many Tories in the bar.

One Conservative MP, Stewart Andrew has alleged that he was left with a bloody nose after being head-butted by the controversial Labour MP.

It is also claimed Labour whip Phil Wilson was left with blood stains on his shirt after he was struck by Joyce as he tried to intervene.

Mr Joyce has remained in custody at the Belgravia police station since being arrested late on Wednesday evening.  Bar staff on duty when the alleged incident occurred went to the police station to give statements at 3pm.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that after Joyce was taken into custody he took a swing at a desk sergeant.  It has also been tweeted by Michael Crick of the BBC that Joyce “was in such a state” that he refused a lawyer.
Yesterday morning Ed Miliband took the decision to suspend the Scottish Labour MP from the party.

The revelation that Mr Joyce has been charged with three counts of common assault followed news that several Labour MPs have been expressing concerns about their colleague’s health.  Many commentators are now suggesting the controversial Labour MPs career is over and that it is now almost certain that he will step down as MP for Falkirk.

Mr Joyce’s predecessor, Mr Denis Canavan, said: “If he is found guilty of serious assault, then I hope the parliamentary authorities take action against him to suspend him from the House of Commons.
“I am saddened but not very surprised to hear about this latest incident.  Sadly, it says as much about the quality of the Labour Party’s selection process for candidates as it does about Mr Joyce.
“He is not a fit and proper person to be an MP.  My sympathies lie with the people of Falkirk, not with Mr Joyce.  This all speaks volumes about the way the Labour Party goes about selecting its candidates.”

In the last general election Labour achieved a win over the SNP with a majority of 7843 – 23,207 votes to 15,364.

If Mr Joyce does stand down on health grounds then Scottish Labour will face their first real test since Johann Lamont replaced Iain Gray as Scottish leader.