3:13pm Monday 12th March 2012
A LABOUR MP who punched and headbutted two councillors and two MPs while drunk has been spared jail.
Former soldier Eric Joyce told police “You can’t touch me, I’m an MP” after he headbutted councillor Ben Maney and punched Basildon councillor Luke Mackenzie twice in the face, in the House of Commons.
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price was with all her staff having leaving drinks at the Strangers Bar for her PA Gemma when the brawl broke out.
As Mr Mackenzie, who works for East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe and Cllr Maney tried to restrain Joyce, Ms Doyle-Price intervened to prevent any more violence.
Joyce also attacked Tory MP Stuart Andrew and Labour whip Philip Wilson during the assault.
He accepted he was “hammered” during the brawl and expressed his “shame and embarrassment” through his barrister, Jeremy Dein QC.
Joyce was suspended from the Labour Party and says he will not stand as an MP in the next election following the fight on February 22.
Ben Maney, councillor representing Little Thurrock Blackshots said: “It was no more than a scuffle really but it does not diminish the fact it was an MP in the House of Commons bar.
“I only got pretty minor injuries.
“It all happened very quickly and people in the bar were shocked because it is a respected place.
“It is a place where a lot of MPs take their guests so it is a place where members of the public go.
“A line needs to be drawn under this now, his parliamentary career is effectively over and he needs to be left alone to deal with things.”
Ms Doyle-Price added: “This was a regrettable incident and I am sure no one regrets it more than Eric Joyce.
“The impact on his reputation will prove a lasting punishment. I understand that Labour intend to expel him. Perhaps now that the law has taken its course it is time for understanding rather than condemnation.”
Joyce apologised for his behaviour and said he was lucky to avoid prison, after the sentencing at Westminster Magistrate’s Court last Friday.
He was given a 12-month community order, ordered to pay £4,400 by magistrates, given a weekend curfew and he was banned from entering anywhere that sells alcohol for three months after pleading guilty to four counts of assault.
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