What next Eric?

Eric Joyce celebrates his re-election as Falkirk MP in 2010.
Eric Joyce celebrates his re-election as Falkirk MP in 2010.

MP Eric Joyce must wait another week to learn if he will face a charge of causing actual bodily harm.

If charged and convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The member for Falkirk was arrested last week after a late-night fracas in the House of Commons.

It came exactly a year after The Falkirk Herald called on him to resign following an incident in Westminster’s Strangers Bar when he assaulted four politicians.

This time he was arrested in the Commons Sports and Social Club following an alleged assault.

Photographs show the 52-year-old MP being wrestled to the ground by police.

This week, he told The Falkirk Herald that following a night in the cells at Belgravia police station, the original charge was dropped and he was re-arrested on the suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

Mr Joyce said: “I think it will all become quite clear in coming days and don’t expect any further action.”

However, a police spokesman said that the MP had been further arrested on the ABH charge and had been bailed pending further enquiries to return to a central London police station next Thursday.

The MP resigned from the Labour Party following last year’s incident.

Despite Joyce claiming he is not an alcoholic or suffering from post-traumatic stress, there have been calls for him to seek help.

However, those who have been urging the former Army major to get professional counselling, say he has to recognise that he needs assistance.

Last March, he was fined £3000 after he admitted headbutting two Tory MPs and assaulting a Labour Whip and Tory councillor. He was also given a 12-month community order which barred him from licensed premises for three months and placed him on a weekend curfew.

It ended just days before this latest alleged incident.

In a blog on his website, Mr Joyce said: “I am not, and never have been, an alcoholic,” adding: “I do not have post-traumatic stress; that’s just ridiculous.”

The MP has now been banned from buying or being served alcohol in the Houses of Parliament by authorities pending the police investigations.

Urging him to seek help, Parliamentary colleague Michael Connarty, Falkirk East MP, said: “I think we never know fully what is going on in another person’s life. But there is money available for those who need help.

“Shouting doesn’t help as it seems to make him more determined to hunker down and see it through. Someone needs to find a way to help him.”

Last year, Mr Joyce said he would be standing down as an MP at the 2015 General Election.

This week he said that he wasn’t looking any further forward than his Private Members’ Debate on Kenya in Parliament yesterday (Wednesday).