Lifestyle & Belief

Boozing British pols may face new Parliament rules after headbutting, punching, and drunkenness go too far


Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Eric Joyce arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court on March 9, 2012 in London, England. Mr Joyce faces three counts of assault after an incident at a bar inside Parliament. The Scottish MP, who was suspended from the opposition Labour Party, says he will not stand for re-election in 2015.


Peter Macdiarmid

For British politicians, in-house boozing may have gone one step too far, the Associated Press reported

Eric Joyce, Labour member of Parliament for Falkirk in Scotland, is embroiled in controversy after a night of gratuitous imbibing at a bar in Westminster Palace turned violent.

While "hammered," Joyce decried the number of Conservative MPs present and reportedly attacked Labour whip Phil Wilson, then headbutted Conservative MP Stuart Andrew, the Mirror reported

The Daily Telegraph wrote another MP said Joyce was "drunker than anyone he had ever seen in his life," and "his eyes looked like no one was home."

Joyce has been suspended from the Labour Party and fined after pleading guilty to charges. He has also been banned from entering pubs for three months. 

And now, the storied legislative body is conducting a inquiry into possible new regulations on the long tradition of alcohol consumption on Parliament premises. 

Despite lawmakers' penchant for running up multi-thousand pound bar tabs, according to the AP, MPs get a discount: liquor and spirits sold on Parliament property "is typically priced below normal bars and pubs, thanks to a broad subsidy that covers all food and refreshment costs in the House of Commons."

So what may the new rules entail? The AP writes that the changes may affect operating hours or the clearly beloved alcohol subsidies.