MP Eric Joyce avoids jail for Commons bar headbutts and brawl

13:15 09 March 2012

Eric Joyce MP arrives at City of Westminster Magistrates

Eric Joyce MP arrives at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court

MP Eric Joyce has avoided a jail term for his Commons bar brawl during which he beat up four politicians while drunk.

He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,400 to victims at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

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

Speaking outside court, Joyce apologised for his behaviour and said he was lucky to avoid prison, but said he did not intend to stand down as an MP before the next election.

The Labour MP drunkenly attacked four politicians in a bar brawl before telling police “You can’t touch me, I’m an MP”.

He swore at police after going berserk and headbutting Tory MP Stuart Andrew and councillor Ben Maney, prosecutor Zoe Martin told the court.

He also attacked Tory councillor Luke Mackenzie before turning on Labour whip Phillip Wilson.

Joyce, who admitted four counts of assault, expresses his “shame and embarrassment”, Jeremy Dein QC, defending, said.

“He is unreservedly apologetic for what occurred on the night in question,” Mr Dein said.

The suspended Labour politician, 51, accepts the fact that his drinking was not an excuse “for the dreadful scenario that unfolded”, the barrister added.

Ms Martin said Joyce launched into a frenzied attack after shouting the Strangers bar was “full of Tories”.

Having attacked two MPs and two councillors he then wrote in a police officer’s notebook: “We are a Tory nation, that cannot be forever... good cops unite.”

Witnesses to the brawl said “he was very angry, drunk, angrier than anyone”, Ms Martin said.

One onlooker said his “eyes looked like nobody was home” while another said his “eyes looked dead” Violence flared after the £65,000-a-year MP for Falkirk started singing “very loudly”, drinkers said.

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