- Eric Joyce admitted four charges of assault
- MP shouted ‘You can’t touch me, I’m an MP!’ as he was arrested
- Fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,400 to victims at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
- Also receives twelve-month community order, is banned from entering pubs for three months, and given a weekend curfew
- Will not resign as an MP before next election in 2015
A Labour MP who head-butted fellow politicians in a House of Commons bar brawl was spared jail yesterday.
Eric Joyce, 51, threw punches and ‘nutted’ two Conservatives after a late-night drinking session, snarling: ‘There are too many ******* Tories in here.’
Witnesses said the glazed eyes of the former Army major, who had to be restrained by eight police officers, made it ‘look like nobody was home’.
As the officers dragged him to the cells, Joyce yelled: ‘You can’t touch me, I am an MP.’
Details of the extraordinary incident were revealed for the first time yesterday, as the Falkirk MP admitted carrying out the assault at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Joyce now faces expulsion from the Labour Party, but vowed to continue serving as an independent.
The brawl broke out in the Commons Strangers’ Bar, which is reserved for MPs and their guests, at about 10.30pm on February 22. One of Joyce’s friends, Stuart Niven – an amateur opera singer – started to sing loudly, provoking startled glances from a neighbouring table of Conservatives.
Joyce, who had drunk a bottle of red wine, stood to warn Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke: ‘Don’t ever look at my guests in that way again’.
When another Conservative MP, Andrew Percy, asked him to sit down, Joyce shoved him up against the wall, shouting: ‘This bar is full of ******* Tories.’
When Mr Shelbrooke said: ‘You can’t treat an MP like that in a place like this,’ Joyce swung for the Tory, who ducked the blow. Joyce then punched Conservative councillor Luke Mackenzie, splitting his lip, before head-butting another, Ben Maney.
Labour whip Phillip Wilson then put a hand on Joyce’s shoulder and said: ‘Calm down Eric – what’s going on?’ Joyce responded by punching him in the face.
Police arrived to find Joyce smelling ‘strongly of alcohol’ with ‘glazed’ eyes. He continued his assault as the officers tried to restrain him, swearing at them before head-butting Tory MP Stuart Andrew, giving him a bloody nose and concussion.