Labour suspends MP over 'assault'

10:48am Thursday 23rd February 2012

© Press Association 2014

Labour MP Eric Joyce has been suspended from the party following allegations of an assault in a House of Commons bar on Wednesday night.

Mr Joyce remains MP for Falkirk, but cannot take the Labour whip in the Commons until the completion of a police investigation into the affair.

Scotland Yard confirmed that officers detained a man in his 50s after being called to reports of an incident at a bar within the Palace of Westminster at around 10.50pm. He was taken into custody at a central London police station.

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

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."

Mr Joyce, MP for Falkirk since December 2000, served in the Army Education Corps before pursuing a career in politics.

In 2010 he resigned as shadow Northern Ireland minister after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath test.

According to reports, Conservative MP Stuart Andrew was head-butted and punched in the incident, which happened in the Strangers Bar, a Commons bar reserved for MPs and their guests. In response to messages posted on Twitter, Mr Andrew wrote: "I'm ok."

Scotland Yard confirmed they are still questioning a man over the alleged assault. A spokesman said: "The man remains in custody at a central London police station."

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."

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