An MP who was arrested after a late-night House of Commons scuffle has denied he is an alcoholic.
Eric Joyce has published a comprehensive account of the events leading up to his arrest in Westminster's Sports and Social bar on Thursday night.
Writing on his blog, the former Labour MP, who left the party after admitting assault in a previous incident in a Commons bar, claimed he been "uninvolved" in the incident and was re-arrested the following morning as a technicality to help police with their inquiries.
He wrote: "I am not, and never have been, an alcoholic."
Since his latest arrest, there have been suggestions - including from his supporters - that the Falkirk MP is suffering from post-traumatic stress relating to family breakdown or his time in the Armed Forces.
But he wrote: "I separated from my wife seven years ago. We are on excellent terms. I am not broken, tortured, lonely or tormented. It is widely known that I am very fit and healthy. I conduct my work as an MP with diligence, particularly on behalf of constituents and also matters relating to Africa and wider international development issues. I do not have post-traumatic stress; that’s just ridiculous (although the people who suggest it are certainly profoundly well-intentioned in respect of some former service personnel who have experienced genuine trauma)."
Joyce said his period of heavy drinking had ended with the "dreadful" incident a year ago in Parliament's Strangers Bar, saying he still felt "genuine remorse" for the people affected.
On the latest incident, he wrote: "I was not drunk last Thursday. I had consumed, by any standards, a very modest amount of alcohol. I was examined by a nurse after being arrested. I was pronounced fit for interview. I did not need to “sleep it off”. I gave a statement immediately."
The police treated him with "great professionalism, humanity and kindness", he wrote, denying reports he had been seen "glassy-eyed" leaving the nearby Red Lion pub.
Joyce said he had returned from a doctor's appointment to a meeting that had lasted all afternoon before heading for the Sports and Social bar.
He went on: "I was there with one other person. There was no ‘anti-Tory’ dimension at all. Conservative MPs, many of whom I regard as personal friends, have gone out of their way to be kind and helpful throughout the last year. Labour Party colleagues have been enormously supportive. MPs of all other parties, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish, have too."
Addressing reports he had been "re-arrested" at the police station, he wrote: "I was not re-arrested for ABH following a subsequent event at Belgravia. The reason for the original arrest at the Sports and Social Bar was dropped within hours when it became clear I was uninvolved in an incident the police had assumed I had been involved in. I was technically re-arrested the following morning in order to enable inquiries to be made after police officers brought new complaints which related to the evening before."
And he said his ban from buying alcohol on the Parliamentary estate appeared to be "entirely designed for public consumption" and to fuel "misreports" of how much he had drunk on Thursday night.
He added: "I visited the Sports and Social Bar because it had been just over one year since last year’s terrible incident elsewhere. In retrospect, this does not seem to have been a good call. I will clearly not be doing so again and it takes neither the brains of an archbishop nor the edict of an official to achieve that end. I enormously appreciate the kind messages of the many colleagues, friends and members of the public who have contacted me."
The Huffington Post UK | By Tom Moseley
Posted: 16/03/2013 17:26 GMT
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