• MP held after brawl at the Sports and Social Club bar
  • Dozen police officers called to a fracas at the bar
  • The MP for Falkirk had been attending a karaoke night at the bar

By
Tamara Cohen, Francesca Infante and Lucy Osborne

23:27, 14 March 2013


|

01:50, 15 March 2013

MP Eric Joyce who was arrested after a late night altercation in a House of Commons bar

MP Eric Joyce who was arrested after a late night altercation in a House of Commons bar

An MP forced out of the Labour party after a drunken brawl in a Commons bar was arrested again last night in similar circumstances.

A dozen police officers were called to a fracas at the Sports and Social bar in the Houses of Parliament last night, where Eric Joyce was at a karaoke night.

The MP for Falkirk, who now serves as an independent, was reportedly wrestled to the ground by officers in front of onlookers and loaded into a police van.

The 52-year-old former soldier was arrested last February over a brawl at the nearby Strangers’ bar in Parliament where he headbutted Tory MP Stuart Andrew.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault and was fined £3,000 by magistrates.

Last night onlookers at the Sports and Social said Mr Joyce brought two officers to the ground and knocked another’s hat off.

It is believed he arrived at the venue earlier in the evening after drinking in a Westminster pub with one of his staff.

Initial reports suggest an altercation began between Mr Joyce and another man, which was continued outside the bar. Witnesses called the police who arrived at 10.45pm.

They had to call for reinforcements to deal with the incident. Mr Joyce was eventually pinned him to the ground and handcuffed.

He was said to have been bundled through the members’ entrance to the Palace of Westminster and driven away.

One witness, Robin Lines, 31, a student who was at the bar as a guest of a friend, told the Mail Mr Joyce had an altercation with another customer inside the bar.

He said a police officer arrived and spoke to the customer who walked outside but Mr Joyce followed them both and continued the dispute outside.

He said: ‘I was standing outside having a cigarette and the next thing I knew Eric was on top of both the man from the pub and the policeman. Everyone was shouting “Come on Eric, get off him”. Then everyone was told to evacuate through the back entrances by police.’

Eric Joyce is restrained and handcuffed before being taken away by police last night

Eric Joyce is restrained and handcuffed before being taken away by police last night

Police closed the bar and interviewed parliamentary staff who witnessed the incident.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: ‘Police were called shortly before 10.30 this evening to reports of a disturbance within a bar within the Houses of Commons.

‘Officers attended and a man aged in his fifties has been arrested in connection with the incident, he remains in custody and enquiries continue.’

One MP last night expressed concern for Mr Joyce’s welfare.

Tory Penny Mordaunt wrote on Twitter: ‘MPs done great stuff for mental health but must ensure that colleagues who need help get it, esp if they are now sans party.’

The 52-year-old former soldier was arrested last February over a brawl at the nearby Strangers' bar in Parliament where he headbutted Tory MP Stuart Andrew

The 52-year-old former soldier was arrested last February over a brawl at the nearby Strangers’ bar in Parliament where he headbutted Tory MP Stuart Andrew

A parliamentary aide who witnessed the incident described scenes of ‘mayhem’ as Mr Joyce was ‘dragged’ away by police. She said: ‘The bar was really busy but everybody pushed outside. Everyone knew what was going on.

‘Everyone was just saying is it Joycey, is it Joycey?I saw maybe five or six officers, the police were so quick, he was pushed to the floor but he resisted a lot.

‘I saw him dragged off by three police man, there was one on each side of him holding his elbows and another behind him.

‘It was complete mayhem, police had to wrestle him to the floor, there must have been 50 people stood around outside watching.

‘It was like something you would see outside a very raucous bar or club on a weekend.’ She said the bar was popular with Commons staffers, especially on karaoke nights, but did not usually attract MPs.

Mr Joyce resigned from the Labour Party after headbutting Tory rivals Mr Andrew and Ben Maney in the incident in a Commons bar last February.

He also punched Tory councillor Luke Mackenzie and Labour whip Phillip Wilson while going berserk and abusing officers. After leaving Mr Andrew with a bloodied nose, Mr Joyce told police: ‘He deserved it.’

The MP, who accepted he was ‘hammered’ on red wine during the brawl, launched into a frenzied attack after shouting that the Strangers’ Bar ‘was full of f****** Tories’. He walked away from Westminster Magistrates’ Court with a fine and pub banning order after admitting four counts of common assault.

He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,400 to victims after he entered early guilty pleas.

Mr Joyce was also given a 12-month community order – banning him from entering pubs and licensed premises for three months – and handed a curfew order from Friday to Sunday.

After the hearing, the MP admitted he was lucky to avoid jail and said he was ‘deeply apologetic’.

He served in junior government posts and was shadow Northern Ireland minister in 2010.

Inside the Sports and Social Bar at the House of Commons

Inside the Sports and Social Bar at the House of Commons

 

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