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YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME..I'M AN MP; WHAT BRAWLING JOYCE TOLD COPS Headbutt thug dodges jail term.

Byline: Andrew Gregory

DISGRACED MP Eric Joyce yesterday admitted: "I'm lucky to be free" after a court heard how he beat up four men in a Commons brawl.

But the 51-year-old Falkirk MP, who has been suspended by the Labour Party, has refused to quit his pounds 65,000-a-year job before the next election in 2015.

And after the hearing, he described his night of shame as "a fairly spectacular oops".

Westminster Magistrates' Court was told yesterday ex-soldier Joyce attacked a Tory MP, a Labour MP and two Tory councillors with headbutts and punches before yelling at police: "You can't touch me, I'm an MP."

He was drunkenly sceaming: "There are too many f***ing Tories in here" as he lashed out wildly in the Commons' Strangers Bar.

Joyce, who admitted four counts of common assault, was fined pounds 3000 and ordered to pay pounds 1400 to his victims.

He was also banned from every bar in England and Wales for the next three months and must obey a weekend evening curfew.

Jeremy Dein QC, defending, said Joyce accepted he had been "hammered" and had expressed "shame and embarrassment for himself and his office and all who he represents".

The MP was arrested after police were called to a disturbance at 10.50pm on February 22.

Zoe Martin, prosecuting, said Joyce had been drinking wine with pals after a day in his office during which he had not eaten anything.

After his arrest, he scribbled in a police officer's notebook: "We are a Tory nation, that cannot be forever... good cops unite."

And while sobering up in a cell, he said of one of his victims: "I think he was a silly fat Tory MP. "He was pushing like a girl."

Father-of-two Joyce said outside court: "I've been lucky to avoid prison. I'm very ashamed."

Later, the MP, whose two-year affair with schoolgirl Meg Lauder was exposed by the Record, kept a planned date to talk to students.

The MP, who denies the relationship with election helper Meg was sexual, spoke to them of the Commons brawl, saying: "Generally speaking, people are pretty good about 'oops' situations. This is a fairly spectacular oops.

"Alcohol, anger most probably caused it. I have apologised to those who suffered physical assault."


WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN AFFRAY MAKES J Shamed Joyce leaves court yesterday, main picture. Above, the smart candidate in 2001
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 10, 2012
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