Is there any wonder that to some people abroad the UK is a laughing stock come nightmare? Earlier this week two UK boxers brawled at a German airport and prison now seems a possibility. This was bad enough but these are men who fight for a living. Last night a Labour MP was arrested after reports that he punched a Tory MP whilst they were both in the House of Commons bar.
51-year-old Eric Joyce is said to have thrown more than punch that hit home on Tory MP Stuart Andrew.
Joyce is the Labour representative for Falkirk. In the last election he increased his majority substantially. Before beginning a career in politics Mr Joyce was a major in the army. His political career has been checkered and brief as far as front bench politics goes.
The Mail online has a brief bio of Mr Joyce, "Mr Joyce, 51, has served only briefly on the frontbenches, acting as a Northern Ireland spokesman following the 2010 election defeat until forced to resign later that year when he lost his driving licence for failing to provide a breath test. Born in Perth, he signed up as a private in the Black Watch when still a teenager, but took a sabbatical to earn a religious studies degree from the University of Stirling and later attended Sandhurst to gain an officer's commission.He rose to the rank of major in the Royal Army Educational Corps, but ruffled feathers when he started an Armed Forces Journal magazine where service personnel could voice concerns about military life. A series of articles and media interviews in which he accused the Army of private school bias put him on a collision course with the top brass, and he quit in 1999.After working for the Commission for Racial Equality Scotland for some months, he was elected to Parliament as Labour MP for Falkirk West in a by-election.From 2003, he worked as parliamentary private secretary to a number of ministers but resigned as aide to defence secretary Bob Ainsworth in 2009 because of concerns over the situation in Afghanistan. He also served as a parliamentary aide to John Hutton – when he was defence secretary – Mike O'Brien and Margaret Hodge.
Fair to say a "colourful character" then. This of course does not mean that he is necessarily guilty. He remains in police custody and presumably the courts will decide that. "Joyce also has a bad reputation as far as expenses go. In 2010 he claimed a whopping £200,000 for example".
Eyewitness accounts of the brawl claim that drinks were thrown over some MPS and punches aimed at others. The incidents took place a little before 11pm last night, February 22, 2012. All in all a disgraceful affair. It does nothing for British publicity. If even the politicians are alcohol fuelled thugs what hope is there for the rest of us? However, as already said a court will rule on that.
Today before a parliamentary session Speaker of the House 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.'
Today Mr Joyce was suspended from the Labour party pending the results of the police investigation.
OPINION: The incident will be investigated in due course and no doubt an announcement made. This blogger though wants to express an opinion about the taxpayer funded bar that is open in the House of Commons. The reason given is due to the long hours which Parliament often sits. That is bonkers. In austere times a snack bar would cost the taxpayer less and be less damaging.
Is it really that we believe a political career is so meaningless that getting drunk does not count? If you work in a fire station, hospital or police station there is no alcohol filled bar provided. It would be deemed a temptation which could spell disaster and inappropriate. It could affect a person's work or perhaps their journey home. It is not needed. Once again the UK government fail to lead by example. They preach about the problems of a alcohol fuelled culture in the UK and set such a terrible example.
For once MPS show some bottle and leadership. Get your tax payer subsidised bar closed and get on with the job in hand. Governing this country, which is what we pay you to do.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog