Eric Joyce denies he has a problem with alcohol


Former Labour MP Eric Joyce, who was arrested by Metropolitan police on Thursday evening after an alleged brawl in a bar in the House of Commons, has written a blog entry denying that he is an alcoholic, and says that his previous “difficulties” are not the result of alcohol abuse.

Thursday’s arrest was the second time Mr Joyce has been arrested following incidents at bars in the House of Commons.  In February last year he was arrested after head-butting a Tory MP in the House of Commons Strangers Bar.  Mr Joyce was fined £3000 and ordered to wear an electronic tag.  Following the incident he resigned from the Labour party, but continued to sit as MP for Falkirk.

In August last year Mr Joyce was fined a further £600 after illegally removing his tag in order to participate in a House of Commons charity boat-race.

In his blog entry, published on Saturday evening, he wrote:

“I am not, and never have been, an alcoholic. I did, briefly, go through an unhappy period where I drank heavily. That ended 12 months ago, overnight, with the dreadful incident in Strangers for which I still feel genuine remorse in respect of those affected.

“I was not drunk last Thursday. I had consumed, by any standards, a very modest amount of alcohol.  I was examined by a nurse after being arrested.”

The MP also described as “ridiculous” reports that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his period of service in the armed forces.

In a sign that Mr Joyce intends to resist growing pressure on him to resign as an MP, he wrote:

“It is widely known that I am very fit and healthy. I conduct my work as an MP with diligence, particularly on behalf of constituents and also matters relating to Africa and wider international development issues.”

Mr Joyce has previously stated that he intends to remain as MP for Falkirk until the next General Election.