Eric Joyce arrested after Commons pub brawl


  By a Newsnet reporter

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce, who resigned from the party after his conviction for assault in a bar in the Palace of Westminster last year, has again been arrested after reports of a fight breaking out in a bar in the Palace of Westminster.

Police were reportedly called to an incident last night in the sports and social bar in the Palace of Westminster, which is frequented by many MPs.

Initial reports said that a dozen officer were called to the venue after a fight broke out.  Mr Joyce is alleged to have wrestled officers to the ground before being arrested and taken away in a police van.

Witnesses say that the bar was hosting a karaoke night, when Mr Joyce and a companion allegedly got into an altercation with a member of staff.  Police were called to escort Mr Joyce from the premises, and he is alleged to have become combative with the officers, and to have assaulted them while resisting arrest.

Reports say that Mr Joyce was allegedly involved in a fracas with two officers, whom he is said to have knocked to the ground.  One of the officers lost his helmet in the disturbance.  The officers are reported to have wrestled the Falkirk MP to the ground and to have handcuffed him while he was still struggling.  The police then ordered the bar to be closed and called for reinforcements to help remove the MP into police custody.  Mr Joyce will be held in police cells overnight.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We were called just before 10.30pm to reports of a disturbance at a bar within the House of Commons.

“Officers attended and a man aged in his 50s has been arrested in connection with this incident.

“He remains in custody and enquiries continue.”

In 2012 Mr Joyce pleaded guilty to assault after an incident in the Strangers Bar in the Palace of Westminster.  He was fined £3,000 and required to wear an electronic tag. He was also banned from entering licensed premises for three months.  In August 2012 he was fined a further £600 after he was convicted of removing his tag in order to participate in a parliamentary charity boat race.

Following his conviction, Mr Joyce gave a personal statement to the House of Commons in which he apologised “without reservation” for his actions and said he felt “personal shame” at his conduct.

Although Mr Joyce resigned from the Labour party, he continues to sit in the House of Commons as the MP for Falkirk.  He has announced his intention to step down at the next General Election.  MPs are automatically disbarred from office if they receive a custodial sentence of more than 12 months.

The controversial MP was also the centre of a scandal last year after it emerged he had an affair with a 17 year old teenage schoolgirl who had been helping with his 2010 election campaign when he was a Labour candidate.

Last night’s incident will increase the pressure on Mr Joyce to stand down and trigger a by-election.