Labour suspend Eric Joyce after head-butt claims

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By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Falkirk MP Eric Joyce has been suspended by the Labour party after he was arrested following claims that he punched and head-butted a Tory MP in Strangers bar in the House of Commons.
 
The Labour MP was still being held at Belgravia Police station at tea time tonight as new claims relating to the incident emerged.

According to media reports, it took five police officers to arrest the Scottish Labour MP who it is alleged assaulted several people in the House of Commons bar.  A glass panel was smashed as Joyce was led away.

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 Andrew has said that he intends to press charges against the Scottish Labour MP.

Eye witness reports claim that Joyce went “berserk” after complaining that there were too many Conservatives in the bar.  Female Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price is reported to have stepped in bravely in order to prevent further trouble.

Mr Joyce was taken to a cell in the House of Commons after being restrained by officers.  He was then transferred to Belgravia Police Station for questioning.

This morning, Labour leader Ed Miliband took the decision to suspend the controversial MP.  In a statement issued by Labour, a party spokesman said:

“This is an extremely serious incident.  We have suspended Eric Joyce pending the results of the police investigation.”

In the Commons, 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.”

Police are reported to have begun interviewing bar staff who were on duty when the incident took place.

Mr Joyce, served in the Army Education Corps before pursuing a career in politics and was elected as MP for Falkirk in 2000.

In 2010 he resigned as shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath test.

Topping the MPs expenses list in 2009, Joyce has now claimed over £1 million from the public purse.  In 2010, the Labour MP became the first parliamentarian to claim over £200,000 for a single year.