Labour MP Eric Joyce fined £3,000 after attack on gay Tory in Commons bar

Stephen Gray March 9, 2012
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Eric Joyce, Labour MP for Falkirk in Scotland, has been given a £3,000 fine and banned from pubs for three months after head-butting openly gay MP Stuart Andrew in a House of Commons bar brawl, months after Andrew spoke to the House about being the victim of assault.

Mr Joyce headbutted the Conservative MP for Pudsey during a brawl at the Strangers’ Bar last month in which three other men were injured, to whom he must pay £1,400 in compensation.

There was no indication the attack was motivated by homophobia. He was reported to have said there were “too many” Tories in the Westminster bar and assaulted Mr Andrew after he objected.

Pleading guilty to the charges, Mr Joyce has avoided a jail sentence. In addition to the fine, compensation, restrictions on his movement will include a curfew from Friday to Sunday.

Mr Joyce has said he will not seek re-election when his current term comes to an end in 2015.

PA reports that his lawyer said he was “unreservedly apologetic for what occurred on the night in question”.

Prosecutors told Westminster Magistrates Court a witness said his eyes “looked like nobody was home”.

Outside the court, Mr Joyce said today: “Clearly it’s a matter of considerable personal shame.

“I’ve been duly punished today. I’ve been lucky to avoid prison. I’m very ashamed, of course.”

The incident occurred months after the MP for Pudsey spoke openly in the Commons about being the victim of a homophobic assault.

In a statement today, Mr Andrew said: “I appreciate Eric Joyce’s guilty plea and the remorse he has shown for the serious nature of his actions, no person should assault another.

“I hope that any personal challenges he faces can be overcome in the coming months.

“Indeed this case does raise valid concerns in relation to the level of pastoral support and understanding available to MPs in Westminster who may be experiencing personal difficulties. I hope this issue will now be addressed.

“I have been advised that I am to be awarded a payment of £350 which I will be giving to charity.”

More: attack, Crime, House of Commons, Law, Westminster

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