Friday 24 February 2012

Expenses-fiddling MP starts fight after cheap booze binge

Late on night Wednesday night the expenses-fiddling MP Eric Joyce was arrested in the Houses of Parliament for what has been described by some as 'a brawl' or by others as a 'fight caused by Eric Joyce MP' (A Tweet by Andrew Stephenson MP for Pendle).

According to a Scotland Yard Rozzer:
“We were called at approximately 10:50 GMT last night to reports of a disturbance at the bar within the House of Commons. A man in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault. He remains in custody in a central London police station. Inquiries are continuing”.
Naturally Guido has some more information and a photo of a window allegedly broken during Major Joyce's struggle with the rozzers.

Its not Joyce's first brush with the law as in 2010 he pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath test. So, in the words of the plod, “He has previous form”.

Conservative MP Stuart Andrew was apparently headbutted and punched by the 'tired and emotional' Labour MP for Falkirk. Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke attempted to restrain Joyce, telling him “You do not do that to an MP in this House!” Tables were knocked over, drinks spilt and glasses were broken as Joyce struggled with others trying to restrain him.

Also in 2010 there was another disturbance in the Houses of Parliament when another Labour MP wrestled with someone during a karaoke evening.

Does anyone see the connection here between the availability of cheap, taxpayer-subsidised alcohol and violent behaviour? Even the neo-prohibitionists in Parliament who wish a minimum price on us, not themselves as Westminster is, of course, a 'Royal Palace' and exempt from Excise Duty, are not calling for increased prices in their own bars and restaurants.

These are the people who make our laws, the people who have caused thousands of pub closures with the smoking ban, the people who believe the drinks industry is a cash cow to be milked indefinitely, so what can be done? Well below are a few ideas, ideas based on the Draconian rules which have been placed on pubs up and down the country in the name of eradicating violent disorder in pubs.

The bars in the Houses of Parliament should:
  • Install a CCTV system
  • Have SIA registered doormen on all the doors at all times, they can be recruited from Newport as recommended in the recent Channel 4 documentary 'Bouncers'.
  • Raise prices – the current irresponsible prices encourage binge drinking and should be brought in line with prices in the surrounding area of London
  • Use polycarbonate glasses. With a history of violence and the ease of access to the stone-flagged terrace there is a danger of 'tired and emotional' Members of Parliament having accidents and breaking glass
  • Change their opening hours to 12-2 and 7-10.30
  • Give police 5 days notice of private bookings
  • Have at least one licensee to be on site at all times
  • Have these conditions reviewed by the Metropolitan Police every 3 months

MPs have suggested the above proposals such as restricting opening hours and pubs throughout the country have had conditions such as these piled on them in what are already tough economic times, surely it is only fair that the great and the good who lord over us should have similar conditions passed on their unruly bars, after all, “We are all in this together”.

A few weeks ago the beer Top Totty was banned from the Strangers Bar by a MP who admits to not even frequenting the bar but heard the beer was being served there and was offended. A Twitterstorm followed and there was much ridiculing of the MP whilst sales of Top Totty went through the roof. Can we now expect the MPs to self-regulate and clean up their own bars? Somehow I have my doubts.
Still I don't think we can see Headshunt Stout from Bridgehouse Brewery making an appearance on bar at Strangers for a while.

Update: Major Joyce MP has been charged with three counts of assault and is up before the bench on March 7th, almost 2 years to the day that his former colleagues were up before the bench at the same magistrates court.

1 comment:

Morris Traveller said...

I love this quote:

“You do not do that to an MP in this House!”

So Alec, is it okay to do it elsewhere? And/or to a non-MP?

I know unfair of me, cheap shot and all, but even so . . .

Little chance of "White" Stout appearing in the bar then, by the sound of the fuss caused by "Top Totty".


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