Nearly two weeks on from Eric Joyce’s latest brush with the law, this is still up on the door of parliament’s Sports and Social bar. Researchers hawking videos of the commotion around the papers should get in touch…
Guido has spoken to witnesses about last night’s fracas, this is what he has pieced together from various accounts.
At about 10.15 pm last night Eric Joyce’s researcher Martin Brown (pictured on the right above) exchanged words with Louise (an MP’s researcher, whose surname is known to Guido) outside the Sports and Social in the area where people smoke in the Commons Inner Court. In the ensuing altercation Louise was knocked to the ground.
Alex Cruz Vidal (pictured, right), a researcher for deputy speaker Nigel Evans, intervened to protect Louise and restrain Martin Brown by wrestling him to the ground and sitting on him. The administrator of the Sports & Social came out and with Alex’s help manhandled a shocked Martin Brown into the bar’s little cupboard sized office and locked him inside until the police arrived. Police came to arrest Brown and Eric Joyce showed up shouting at the cops.
Joyce – who had already been involved in some argie-bargie in the Sports and Social earlier that night – is said to have arrived at the scene and reacted angrily to being told by a copper about the incident – he pushed the copper, who came back to restrain him, whereupon Joycey threw a punch at the copper. At this point another copper joined in to restrain him, resulting in the Honourable Member for Falkirk ending up on the floor being handcuffed before being taken away into the back of a police van.
By this time there was a large crowd and around a dozen policemen outside the Sports & Social – including PoliticsHome’s Tony Grew – who only saw the second altercation involving Joyce not the original altercation involving Martin Brown that kicked the whole thing off. Police closed the Sports & Social and the Strangers Bar early…
Police have this morning contacted those witnesses who had their names taken last night, to tell them they will be required to give full statements in due course. Charges will almost certainly follow…
Coincidentally Joyce’s 12-month community order for his last brawl expired six days ago. Two things that are clearly reinforced by this brawl; we need to end the obscene taxpayer subsidy that means the Commons bars are the cheapest pubs in Central London, secondly we need a real power of MPs’ recall. As we were promised by the coalition parties after the expenses scandal…
Guido has been busy crunching some large taxpayer-shaped numbers this morning. After Clegg suggested Huhne should “pay amends” for his crime, by Guido’s calculation the bill comes to over £330,000.
Huhne took his MP’s salary for the year and a day after he quit as a minister, also pocketing a £17,000 severance payment. Using the average cost of recent by-elections, Eastleigh is estimated to have left the taxpayer with a £95,000 bill. The CPS say the cost of investigating and prosecuting Chris and Vicky reached £117,599, while the average national cost of imprisoning criminals puts Huhne and Pryce’s stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure at almost £40,000. A grand total of £333,472…
Congratulations to @AngusCurran, who correctly guessed that both Chris and Vicky would be sentenced to 8 months. He wins a copy of Lee Rotherham’s “The EU in a Nutshell: Everything you wanted to know about the European Union but didn’t know who to ask”, and a dozen I’ve Been Kissed By Chris stickers.
Get in touch with your address…
Chris and Vicky have arrived at court as they await sentencing at 2pm. To mark the occasion you can win a copy of Lee Rotherham’s “The EU in a Nutshell: Everything you wanted to know about the European Union but didn’t know who to ask”, by entering Guido’s Huhne and Pryce Sentencing Sweepstakes. The rules are simple: leave your prediction – in months – for how long Huhne will get, then how long Pryce will get, in the comments.
In the event of a suspended sentence, your guess will still be counted. In the event of a tie names will be drawn out of a hat. Not long to wait so get guessing…
UPDATE: Guido will also be throwing in a dozen “I’ve Been Kissed By Chris” stickers for the lucky winner.
His last few steps as a free man…
Monday 11th March, 2pm, Southwark Crown Court.
One last weekend of freedom…
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John McTernan told Channel 4 News…
“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”
What time will dinner be ready this evening?
Rob Wilson MP
In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.