Saturday 16 December 2017

British MP Eric Joyce arrested and suspended from Labour party over House of Commons brawl

Eric Joyce, the Labour MP for Falkirk
Eric Joyce, the Labour MP for Falkirk

Donna Bowater and Matthew Holehouse

ERIC Joyce, the British Labour MP for Falkirk, has been arrested by police and suspended from the Labour Party he allegedly headbutting another MP in a row over chairs in a bar of the House of Commons.

Police were called to the Strangers' Bar in the House of Commons just before 11pm last night.

Mr Joyce, 51, was arrested on suspicion of assault and taken to a police station in central London. Today he was suspended from the Labour party.

It was claimed Mr Joyce "started lashing out" at people in the bar, which is for MPs and their guests. One of his alleged victims was reported to be Conservative MP Stuart Andrew while he was also alleged to have hit another Labour MP.

A witness told PoliticsHome that Mr Joyce allegedly pushed a Conservative member before punching others at the back of the bar.

Mr Joyce is said to have complained the bar was "full of Tories".

Conservative MP Margot James said she had spoken to Mr Andrew this morning.

"He's ok, I'm glad to say. He told me that there were quite a few people in the bar. There was some dispute over chairs."

Ms James said Mr Joyce was accompanied by a colleague.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We were called at approximately 10.50pm last night to reports of a disturbance at a bar within the House of Commons.

"A man aged in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault."

He remains in custody this morning.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "This is an extremely serious incident. We have suspended Eric Joyce pending the results of the police investigation."

Speaking in the Commons before transport questions, 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 has had a colourful career, leaving the army in 1999 after criticising the force in a pamphlet for the Fabian Society.

He was later elected for Falkirk West in a by-election.

In 2009, it emerged he was Britain's most expensive member of Parliament after claiming £187,334 in expenses in 2007/08.

Last year, he became the first MP to claim more than £200,000 in expenses in one year.

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