Eric Joyce

Eric Stuart Joyce (born 13 October 1960) is a British politician and former military officer. He is a former member of parliament (MP) for Falkirk West and (from 2005) Falkirk. Joyce was an MP from the 2000 Falkirk West by-election, originally as a Labour Party MP, until 2015 when he stood down having sat as an Independent MP for several years.

Joining the army in his teens, Joyce served as a private in the Black Watch before attending University and subsequently receiving a commission in the Royal Army Educational Corps. He resigned from the army under threat of discharge in 1999 at the rank of Major after being found to have broken Queen's Regulations. He then worked as the Public Affairs Officer at the Commission for Racial Equality (Scotland).

From 2003, Joyce served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to several UK government ministers. He resigned as the PPS to Bob Ainsworth on 3 September 2009, citing concerns over the war in Afghanistan.

Joyce was arrested five times during his last five years as an MP, most notably in February 2012 on suspicion of assault after an incident in the Houses of Parliament. This led to his immediate suspension from the Labour Party, before pleading guilty to all charges and resigning from the party the following month. He continued representing his constituency as an independent for the remainder of the parliamentary term.

Eric Joyce
Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk
Member of Parliament
for Falkirk
Falkirk West (2000–2005)
In office
21 December 2000 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byDennis Canavan
Succeeded byJohn McNally
Personal details
Eric Stuart Joyce

13 October 1960 (age 58)
Perth, Scotland
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Labour Party (1999–2012)
Alma materUniversity of Stirling
Military service
AllegianceBritish Army

Early life and education

Joyce lived in Perth, Scotland, with his family for most of his childhood and adolescence. He joined the Army in 1978, initially as a private in the Black Watch before taking a sabbatical between 1981 and 1987 to attend technical college and university where he gained a BA (Hons) in religious studies from Stirling University. As a university candidate, he was made a probationary second lieutenant on 25 August 1987.[1]

In 1987 he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Royal Army Educational Corps (later Adjutant General's Corps) as a subaltern with seniority to 7 October 1981.[2] After receiving his commission he continued his studies part-time and acquired an MA in Education from the University of Bath and an MBA from Keele University. During his time in the army he served in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Germany and Central America. He was promoted to captain on 25 January 1990[3] and to major in 1992.[4]

Joyce publicly described the armed forces as "racist, sexist and discriminatory",[5][6] A Fabian pamphlet by Joyce titled Arms and the Man: renewing the armed services had been published without the proper authorisation, breaching Queen's Regulations which govern the conduct of officers in the British armed forces,[7][8] He continued to speak out about how he perceived the army to the disapproval of his superiors. At a hearing in January 1999 which invoked the Pay Warrant rules, Joyce was requested to resign from the army by 13 March or be discharged.[8][9] He resigned his commission on 12 March 1999 and left the army,[10]

Joyce subsequently served on the staff of the Commission for Racial Equality (Scotland) before his election to the House of Commons.[11]

Political career

He was first elected to parliament at the 2000 Falkirk West by-election, which was prompted by the resignation of Dennis Canavan.[12] On election he served as a member of the Scottish Affairs and the Procedures Select Committees at Westminster. Joyce retained his seat in the 2001 general election, and was elected to the enlarged Falkirk constituency in the 2005 general election.

From 2003 Joyce served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to a number of British Government ministers. He resigned as the Parliamentary Aide to Bob Ainsworth on 3 September 2009 citing concerns over the war in Afghanistan.[13] He had previously been PPS to John Hutton during three of Hutton's cabinet posts: when he was the Secretary of State for Defence; Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Prior to that, Joyce served as the parliamentary aide to ministers Mike O'Brien MP, when O'Brien was the Minister for Energy at the Department of Trade and Industry and Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for Industry and the Regions at the Department of Trade and Industry.

Joyce persuaded the Treasury to change the child benefit regulations to remove a discrepancy that disadvantaged young Scottish FE students relative to their peers in the rest of the UK.[14] In April 2008, Joyce became the first European parliamentarian to be granted an opportunity to address the newly formed Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when he visited the DRC as the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the Great Lakes Region of Africa with other members of the group.[15] In September 2008, Joyce was criticised by local government councillors for describing the name of the new Clackmannanshire Bridge as "unimaginative" and "parochial".[16] The naming of the bridge was reported as a contentious matter.[17][18]

Joyce edited Now's the Hour!: new thinking for Holyrood and has served as Chair of the National Executive of the Fabian Society.

In September 2011 he contributed to the book What next for Labour? Ideas for a new Generation; his piece was entitled "It's a Sin".[19]

Parliamentary record

Joyce most often put questions in the House of Commons to the Scotland Office, Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Northern Ireland Office, and Ministry of Defence.[20] While a Parliamentary Private Secretary Joyce was expected to vote with the Government,[21] but even when not, he has not broken the Labour whip in Parliament.[22] Joyce was not a member of any Parliamentary Select Committees at the end of his time in the Commons, but has been a member of several public bill committees.[20]

Joyce, along with fellow former MPs Tom Harris and Jo Swinson, regularly used the social networking tool Twitter during Parliamentary business including during Prime Minister's Questions to encourage constituents to feel involved with parliamentary proceedings. The activities are permitted under parliamentary rules.

Expenses claims

Joyce was the top-claiming Member of the House of Commons for the 2005–06 Parliamentary session, claiming £174,811 in expenses, of which 62% was for staff and office costs.[23] After the 2005–06 Parliamentary session he made a public pledge to cut his expenses; during the 2006–07 session he moved down to 11th on the list of MPs' expenses and allowances,[24] but again rose to the top for 2007–08 with £187,334.[25]

In October 2007 he claimed £180 for three oil paintings. When asked why he had used taxpayers' funds in such a way he replied "because they look nice."[26]

Anti-Gaelic campaign

In 2012 Joyce waged an internet campaign against the Scots Gaelic language. Using his Twitter account, he derided the language as being "an old, unadaptive language with relatively few words for things" and Gaelic poetry as "basically doggerel" and "mainly a bit of rubbish".[27] He was criticised for his views by the Scottish Government.


Drink driving

On 18 November 2010, he was arrested for failing to provide a breath test following a motoring incident in Falkirk. He pleaded guilty in court the following day and was fined £400 and banned from driving for a year. Joyce resigned from his position as Shadow Northern Ireland Minister and apologised for his behaviour.[28]

Assaults in the Houses of Parliament

Joyce was arrested at 22:50 on 22 February 2012 in the Palace of Westminster by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of committing assault. He was reported to have attacked as many as six politicians,[29] including a Labour whip,[30] after having gone "berserk" following a dispute with a group of Tory MPs sitting nearby.[31][32] He headbutted and punched the Conservative MP, Stuart Andrew,[33] after striking Labour Assistant Whip, Phil Wilson, while Wilson was attempting to restrain him. He also headbutted Thurrock Conservative Councillor, Ben Maney, and punched Basildon Conservative Councillor, Luke Mackenzie, both of whom were attempting to break up the incident.[34] Two more Conservative MPs, Alec Shelbrooke and Jackie Doyle-Price, were also caught up in the fracas while attempting to intervene and calm Joyce down.[35] A door window was smashed as Joyce attempted to resist arrest before being removed by police and taken to Belgravia police station.[36] The disturbance occurred at the Strangers' Bar (reserved for MPs and their guests).[37]

Suspended the following day from the Labour party after his arrest, on 23 February he was charged with three counts of common assault and released on police bail.[38] A fourth charge was added on 9 March.[39] He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,400 in compensation to his victims, but not given a custodial sentence.[39] In a statement before the House of Commons on 12 March 2012, he apologised personally to his victims, stated that he had resigned from the Labour Party, and that he intended to complete his current term as an MP but not seek re-election.[40]

In August 2012, Joyce was back in Court after using scissors on 4 July 2012 to remove the electronic tag that had been fitted to his leg as part of the community order; he was fined £600.[41]

A year later, on 14 March 2013, Joyce was again arrested after a disturbance during a karaoke event in the sports and social bar of the House of Commons.[42][43] He was seen outside the bar wrestling on the floor with two police officers and reportedly had one of the officers in a headlock.[44][45] As it was his second alcohol-related incident on House of Commons premises, the following day Joyce was given an indefinite ban by the Office of the Speaker from purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages from all Palace of Westminster premises, including its eight bars.

Joyce was released under police bail from Belgravia Police Station in London the following day, when it was revealed that he was facing a charge of occasioning actual bodily harm,[46] but he was not ultimately prosecuted.[47]

Disturbance at Edinburgh Airport

On 19 May 2013, Joyce was arrested at Edinburgh Airport after police were called to an altercation between himself and airline staff regarding a mislaid mobile phone. He was reported to have struggled with police officers before being restrained on the ground and handcuffed.[48] On 21 March 2014, he pleaded guilty to a charge of breach of the peace at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and was fined £1,500 with £150 compensation.[49]

Brawl in London shop

On 17 October 2014, Joyce was arrested after clashing with a teenager at a store in Camden, in London. He was charged with two counts of common assault and one count of criminal damage. He appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London on 30 December 2014, where he pleaded not guilty and was given conditional bail to appear for trial.[50] On 1 May 2015, he was found guilty on two counts of common assault in an appearance at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.[51] On 27 May 2015 he was sentenced to a 10-week jail term suspended for two years, and ordered to pay a £1,080 fine and to attend a rehabilitation course which aims to reduce violent behaviour.[52]

See also


  1. ^ "No. 51158". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 December 1987. p. 15612.
  2. ^ "No. 51349". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 May 1988. p. 8350.
  3. ^ "No. 52144". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 May 1990. p. 9478.
  4. ^ Syal, Rajeev (15 March 2013). "Eric Joyce arrest: 'he was being held down by police officers'". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "UK Politics: Outspoken major 'protected' by ministers". BBC News Online. 2 December 1998. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  6. ^ "UK: Outspoken army major faces sack". BBC News Online. 28 February 1998. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  7. ^ Bellamy, Christopher (7 August 1997). "Major in class row set to escape court martial". The Independent.
  8. ^ a b |Goodwin, Stephen (14 January 1999). "Defiant major is told to quit". The Independent.
  9. ^ Seenan, Gerald (14 January 1999). "Marching orders for outspoken major". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "No. 55453". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 April 1999. p. 4137.
  11. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 September 2009). "Eric Joyce: a profile". Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ "Narrow win for Labour". The Guardian. 22 December 2000.
  13. ^ "Full text: Eric Joyce's resignation". Channel 4. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  14. ^ Lydall, Ross (11 April 2009). "Blunder leaves Scots parents short of tens of millions in benefit". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  15. ^ "Congo: Unfinished Business" (DOC). All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region of Africa. July 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  16. ^ McRoberts, Kevin. "MP blasted over silly jibe". Alloa Advertiser. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  17. ^ "Troubled waters for bridge naming". BBC News Online. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  18. ^ "Salmond opens £120m Clackmannanshire Bridge over Forth". The Herald. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  19. ^ "Contributors". Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Eric Joyce". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  21. ^ "Parliamentary private secretaries (PPSs)". BBC News Online. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  22. ^ "Voting Record — Eric Joyce MP, Falkirk (10685)". Retrieved 1 June 2015. – shows the only occasions when Joyce has differed from the majority of Labour MPs were on matters where no whip was applied: principally House of Lords reform and restrictions on smoking in public.
  23. ^ Branigan, Tania (27 October 2006). "MPs' expenses claims hit record £86.8m". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  24. ^ "MP Joyce drops down expenses list". BBC. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  25. ^ "Scottish MPs are top claimants for expenses". STV. 30 March 2009. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  26. ^ "Joyce interview". Newsnight. 19 June 2009. BBC.
  27. ^ Ross, Calum (3 November 2012). "Online attacks on Gaelic language 'just a bit of fun'".
  28. ^ "Labour MP Eric Joyce banned from driving". BBC News. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  29. ^ Lyons, James (24 February 2012). "In The Red Corner". Daily Mirror.
  30. ^ "MP goes berserk in Commons bar brawl". London Evening Standard. 23 February 2012. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  31. ^ Murphy, Joe (23 February 2015). "MP goes berserk in Commons bar brawl". London Evening Standard. UK.
  32. ^ Bowater, Donna; Holehouse, Matthew (23 February 2012). "MP Eric Joyce arrested and suspended from Labour party over House of Commons brawl". The Telegraph. UK.
  33. ^ Watt, Nicholas; Mulholland, Helene (24 February 2012). "Eric Joyce stripped of Labour whip after allegations of Commons assault". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  34. ^ Cheston, Paul (9 March 2012). "Commons headbutt MP banned from all pubs in UK". London Evening Standard. UK.
  35. ^ Watt, Nicholas; Mulholland, Helene (23 February 2012). "Eric Joyce charged with three counts of assault over fracas in the Commons bar". The Guardian. London, UK.
  36. ^ Camber, Rebecca (10 March 2012). "I nutted two Tories: Labour MP spared prison after admitting drunken brawl in Commons bar". Dail Mail. London. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  37. ^ "MP 'held over Houses of Parliament bar assault'". BBC News. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  38. ^ "MP Eric Joyce charged with assault". BBC News. BBC. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  39. ^ a b "Falkirk MP Eric Joyce escapes jail after admitting assault charges in Commons brawl". BBC News. BBC. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  40. ^ "MP Eric Joyce apologises to MPs over bar brawl". BBC News. BBC. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  41. ^ "MP Eric Joyce fined for curfew tag offence". BBC News. 31 July 2012.
  42. ^ "MP Eric Joyce arrested after reports of Parliament bar fight". BBC News. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  43. ^ Silverman, Rosa (15 March 2013). "Eric Joyce MP arrested after altercation". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  44. ^ "Eric Joyce arrest: 'he was being held down by police officers'". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Commons bar brawl that led to Eric Joyce's arrest erupted over alleged sexism row involving female graduate as MP denies he was drunk at the time". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  46. ^ "MP Eric Joyce banned from Commons drinking". BBC News. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  47. ^ "Eric Joyce charged with breach of the peace at Edinburgh airport". The Guardian. 22 May 2013.
  48. ^ "Disgraced MP Eric Joyce arrested at Edinburgh Airport". The Telegraph. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  49. ^ "MP Eric Joyce fined over Edinburgh Airport abuse". BBC News. 21 March 2014.
  50. ^ "Eric Joyce pleads not guilty to London assault charge". BBC News. 30 December 2014.
  51. ^ "Ex-MP Joyce guilty of assaulting teens". BBC News. 1 May 2015.
  52. ^ "Ex-Falkirk MP Eric Joyce sentenced for assaulting two teenagers". BBC News Online. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Dennis Canavan
Member of Parliament for Falkirk West
New constituency Member of Parliament for Falkirk
Succeeded by
John McNally
Party political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Twigg
Chair of the Fabian Society
2004 – 2005
Succeeded by
Seema Malhotra
2000 in Scotland

Events from the year 2000 in Scotland.

2010 Labour Party (UK) Shadow Cabinet election

The Commons members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) elected 19 members of the Shadow Cabinet from among their number in 2010. This follows the Labour Party's defeat in the 2010 general election, after which the party formed the Official Opposition in the United Kingdom.

A separate election for Opposition Chief Whip, an ex officio member of the Shadow Cabinet, happened at the same time. Rosie Winterton was unopposed in that election, and she would serve for the remainder of the Parliament. The results of the Shadow Cabinet election were announced on 7 October 2010, hours after the balloting closed.

The PLP voted to abolish Shadow Cabinet elections at a meeting on 5 July 2011, and the National Executive Committee and the Party Conference followed suit. As a result, the 2010 Shadow Cabinet election was the last.

2011 Scottish Labour Party leadership election

The 2011 Scottish Labour Party leadership election was an internal party election to choose a new leader of the Scottish Labour Party. The election followed the announcement by Iain Gray that he would stand down as leader in the autumn of 2011 following the party's heavy defeat to the Scottish National Party in May's Scottish Parliament general election. Gray won the previous contest in September 2008.

It was the third Scottish Labour leadership election in four years, the first being caused by the resignation of Jack McConnell following the party's defeat in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, and the second by Wendy Alexander's resignation.Running concurrently was a deputy leadership election, triggered by Johann Lamont's decision to run in the leadership election.

The leader of the Keep Scotland in Britain campaign was to be decided once the outcome of the Scottish Labour leadership election was known.Johann Lamont was elected as leader, and Anas Sarwar as deputy leader.

2012 in Scotland

Events from the year 2012 in Scotland.

2013 Labour Party Falkirk candidate selection

In 2013, Eric Joyce, Member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom for Falkirk, resigned from the Labour Party and announced he would not seek re-election. The process of nominating a replacement candidate for the 2015 General Election led to a dispute between the party and its major financial backer Unite the Union, causing the suspension of two local party members, the resignation of Tom Watson MP as Labour's 2015 election strategist, and the forwarding of an internal report into the situation to Police Scotland.

Eric Joyce (American football)

Eric Torezi Joyce (born November 21, 1978) is a former American football

defensive back in the National Football League, NFL Europe and Arena Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears of the NFL, the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFLE, and the Nashville Kats of the AFL. Joyce played college football at Tennessee State.

Eric Joyce (disambiguation)

Eric Joyce may refer to:

Eric Joyce (born 1960), British politician

Eric Joyce (American football) (born 1978), defensive back

Eric Joyce (footballer) (1924-1977), English professional footballer

Eric Joyce (footballer)

Eric Joyce (3 July 1924 – 1977) was an English professional footballer who played as a wing half.

Falkirk (UK Parliament constituency)

Falkirk is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 2005 general election, replacing Falkirk West and part of Falkirk East. At the 2015 general election, it was the seat with the largest majority for the SNP as well as the seat with the largest majority for any party in Scotland.

The constituency takes in the town of the same name and stretches west to include Denny, Stenhousemuir and Banknock.

Falkirk West (UK Parliament constituency)

Falkirk West was a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1983 until 2005. Together with a portion of Falkirk East, it was replaced by Falkirk.

John McNally (politician)

John McNally (born 1951) is a Scottish National Party politician. At the 2015 general election he was elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Falkirk. He won 57.7% of the vote, ahead of candidates including former Labour MSP Karen Whitefield and UK Independence Party MEP David Coburn.

Karen Whitefield

Karen Whitefield (born 8 January 1970, Bellshill) is a Scottish politician and former Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Airdrie and Shotts constituency.

October 13

October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 79 days remaining until the end of the year.

Springfield Thunderbirds

The Springfield Thunderbirds are a minor league professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League that began play for the 2016–17 season as the affiliate of the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers. Based in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Thunderbirds play their home games at the MassMutual Center.

Stephen Twigg

Stephen Twigg (born 25 December 1966) is a British Labour and Co-operative Party politician who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool West Derby since 2010. He previously served as the Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate from 1997 to 2005.

He came to national prominence in 1997 by winning the seat of Defence Secretary Michael Portillo. Twigg was made the Minister of State for School Standards in 2004, a job he held until he lost his seat in 2005. He returned to parliament in 2010, after he was elected Member of Parliament for Liverpool West Derby.

Following Ed Miliband's election to the Labour leadership, he made Twigg a Shadow Foreign Office Minister. In his October 2011 reshuffle, Miliband promoted Twigg to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education. However, on 7 October 2013 he was replaced in the reshuffle.

Stuart Andrew

Stuart James Andrew (born 25 November 1971) is a Welsh Conservative MP for the Pudsey constituency in West Yorkshire.

Tom Watson (Labour politician)

Thomas Anthony Watson (born 8 January 1967) is a British Labour Party politician who was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East since the 2001 general election and was Minister for Digital Engagement and Civil Service Issues at the Cabinet Office from 2008 to 2009.In October 2011, Ed Miliband appointed Watson as the Deputy Chair of the National Executive Committee and the Labour Party's Campaign Co-ordinator for the 2015 general election. He resigned from both roles in July 2013 following a controversy over the selection of a new parliamentary candidate for Falkirk to replace Eric Joyce.On 12 September 2015, Watson was elected as his party's Deputy Leader, alongside Jeremy Corbyn, the new Leader of the Labour Party, gaining 198,962 votes or 50.7%, including second preference votes from those who voted for other candidates. Since October 2016 he has also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

What Next for Labour?

What Next for Labour? Ideas for a New Generation is a book released in 2011, edited by Labour blogger and activist Tom Scholes-Fogg and former Liberal Democrat supporter Hisham Hamid. The book is an edited compilation of 29 essays written by members of the British Labour Party including Members of Parliament, peers and activists. The book seeks to present ideas from all areas of the party's political spectrum, discussing the central theme of the future of the Labour Party following the 2010 general election. Topics covered include suggestions for the ideological direction of the party post–New Labour, policy ideas and broad analysis of Labour's time in government. Contributors include Peter Watt, Lord West of Spithead, Baroness Goudie, Rupa Huq, Aaron Porter, Ann Black, William Bain, Lord Temple-Morris, David Hanson, Siôn Simon, Graham Stringer, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Nick Palmer, Tony Lloyd, Bill Esterson, Lord Knight of Weymouth and Eric Joyce. The publication is the first book by both Tom Scholes-Fogg and Hisham Hamid.

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