MPs have to stand down if they are jailed for more than 12 months, but there is no opportunity for constituents to vote them out except at elections.

The three main parties have backed powers to oust an MP found guilty of serious wrong-doing and face a by-election if sent to jail for a year or less, or if the House of Commons decides an MP’s behaviour justifies it.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I do support the recall proposals that were in our manifesto. I still think it is right, if we can find a way of putting this in place,” he said.

The recall for a by-election would be triggered if 10% of an MP’s constituents sign a petition requesting it.

Former Falkirk MP Dennis Canavan called on Mr Joyce to resign. The situation was “sad for Eric Joyce, but it is even sadder for the people of Falkirk who for over a year now have no effective representation in parliament and they definitely don’t deserve this”, he said.

“It is time to go for the sake of his constituents and for his own sake. He obviously has a problem and he needs help with that.”

Other MPs called for Mr Joyce to receive more support from Commons authorities.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the MP on the ground outside the Commons’ Sports and Social Club on Thursday night, wrestling with two police officers, and suggested the incident had started because Mr Joyce had not been allowed to take a glass out to the smoking area.

Journalist Tony Grew said the pub had been packed because of a karaoke event. Mr Joyce, 52, entered the room “obviously agitated” and pushed his way to the bar, Mr Grew claimed.

Outside later he saw Mr Joyce on the ground allegedly “wrestling with two police officers”.

Mr Grew added: “He appeared to have one of the officers in an arm lock, he put his arm around the officer’s neck, and the other police officer was on top of him.

“There were around at least 40 or 50 parliamentary staff, shocked, watching this melee.

“I can vividly remember a policeman’s hat rolling on the ground towards me as I was watching this scene unfold.”

Michael Connarty, the MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, called for more support from parliamentary authorities for Mr Joyce, who served in the Black Watch and later as a major, with tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Germany.

He claimed Mr Joyce was a “perfect example” of combat stress. He said: “I’ve dealt with people who go through combat stress who are basically people that are exactly like Eric, who come out the armed forces, have not really fitted in with civilian life; excessive alcohol intake; lost their families; lost their homes; have ended up being rescued and rehabilitated, but they have to give up alcohol to do that.”

He added: ” Maybe he ought to think about a different career, but not always attacked for failing to live up to behavioural standards – if alcohol is involved you can’t guarantee people will live up to what should be normal standards.”

Mr Joyce resigned from the Labour Party last year after he headbutted a Tory MP in a different Commons bar. Currently an independent MP, he said he would not seek re-election at the end of his term in 2015.

Power to oust errant MPs backed after Joyce arrest – Herald Scotland
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