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Eric Joyce MP Bailed After Bar Fight Arrest
Falkirk MP Eric Joyce, who was arrested on suspicion of assault after a disturbance in a bar within the Palace of Westminster, has been released on bail.
Leaving central London's Belgravia Police Station by the back door, Mr Joyce made no comment other than to say no charges had been brought against him yet. Police confirmed this was the case.
Mr Joyce, 52, was arrested on suspicion of assault on Thursday night, and re-arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm while in custody.
After being held for about 20 hours, he was bailed to return at a date later in March.
The independent Member of Parliament has been banned from buying and being served alcohol from all parliamentary facilities following his arrest after a brawl at the Sports and Social Club bar in the House of Commons.
It is the second time Mr Joyce, who in the past month has spoken of his struggle with alcoholism and violence, has been arrested in a year in Parliament.
A House of Commons spokesman said: "The House Authorities take their responsibility for the welfare of those who work in and visit the Commons Estate very seriously.
"Alcohol-related incidents on the Estate are rare, and the serious incident last night was counter to the policies in place.
"Given the Member for Falkirk has previously been found guilty of an alcohol-related incident on the Parliamentary Estate, the Speakers and House Authorities have agreed that with immediate effect the Member for Falkirk will be prohibited from purchasing and being served alcoholic beverages from all Parliamentary facilities.
"This ban will be indefinite subject to the outcome of police investigations."
Mr Joyce's arrest has raised questions about the drinking culture in the Houses of Parliament.
There are 27 places - including bars, restaurants, cafes and gift shops - where MPs, peers, staff and members of the public can buy alcohol on the estate, which serves around 15,000 passholders, and some 8,000 people on an average working day.
Witnesses say around 150 people were taking part in a karaoke night at the venue at the time of the fight.
Tony Grew, from the PoliticsHome website, said he saw the MP "wrestling on the ground with two police officers".
Mr Joyce, who is no stranger to controversy and is due to stand down at the 2015 general election, is now facing pressure to quit.
Speaking from Mr Joyce's constituency in Denny, Falkirk, Sky's James Matthews said people were "disappointed and disgusted".
"I think they have had enough of Eric Joyce here and the general view is that he should step down now," he said.
One constituent described his arrest as "a disgrace", while another said he should "resign".
At the EU summit in Brussels David Cameron was asked about whether constituents should be able to sack their MPs.
The Prime Minister replied: "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. I think it is an important idea.
"As for Eric Joyce, I think this is going to have to be properly looked at. I'm sure that the authorities, both inside and outside of the House, are more than capable of doing that."
Mr Joyce resigned from the Labour Party after headbutting Tory rivals Stuart Andrew and Ben Maney in a different Commons bar called Strangers' Bar, last February, where the average cost of a pint of beer is £3.30 and a glass of red wine £2.88.
On that occasion the 52-year-old also punched Tory councillor Luke Mackenzie and Labour whip Phillip Wilson and insulted police officers. After leaving Mr Andrew with a bloodied nose, Mr Joyce told police: "He deserved it."
Mr Joyce, who accepted he was "hammered" on red wine during the brawl, launched into a frenzied attack after shouting that the Strangers' Bar "was full of ******* Tories".
The former soldier walked away from Westminster Magistrates Court with a fine and pub banning order after admitting four counts of common assault. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,400 to victims after he entered early guilty pleas.
Mr Joyce was also 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.
After the hearing, he admitted he was lucky not to be jailed and said he was "deeply apologetic".
MPs are automatically expelled from their seats if they receive a jail term of more than one year.
Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow & East Falkirk, suggested Mr Joyce's problems may stem from his time in the armed forces.
"I think he is a perfect example of combat stress," he told Sky News.