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Eric Joyce Describes Attack As A 'Fairly Spectacular Oops' (VIDEO)

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Eric Joyce described the incident as a 'disaster'
Eric Joyce described the incident as a 'disaster'

Eric Joyce kept his promise to visit university students after his court appearance today - describing his drunken attack as a "fairly spectacular oops"

Joyce said he would not stand down as an MP before the General Election - but admitted that he expects to be expelled from the Labour Party and will continue as an independent.

In an interview with Sam Holden, a journalism student at the University of Bedfordshire, the Falkirk MP said: "I don't believe staying in my seat will be detrimental to my party. But I will be independent. It won't have a bearing on the Labour Party, I am very clear in what I want to do. I have no choice in becoming an independent MP.

"Have I undermined my authority by fighting in a bar punching people? I might have done. You don't have authority as an MP, you have a degree of ability to persuade.

"Generally speaking, people are pretty good about 'oops' situations. This is a fairly spectacular oops."

Joyce, who is currently suspended from the Labour Party, was given a curfew order as part of his sentence, the start of which was delayed by 24 hours so that he could keep his appointment with the university students.

Speaking of the night in question, he said: "I had an evening of violence against a bunch of people. It was a disaster.

"Alcohol, anger most probably caused it. I have apologised to those who suffered physical assault. All of the people affected I have apologised to."

Joyce told Mr Holden that he had a problem with alcohol but added that most of his constituents and MPs had been understanding, describing their behaviour in light of the incident as "very pleasant".

He said: "Alcohol is an issue. People can drink without fighting, if I drink something and fight then there is something going on there. It doesn't impact day-to-day work. You have to look at the root causes of behaviour like that.

"I have to reflect on what I do next. I'm not sure if I will seek help. There will be something."

He added that he is aware a story is to break this weekend linking him to drugs, but insisted that it is not true.
Joyce also spoke about allegations that he had an affair with his former research assistant, Meg Lauder, saying they were "strictly not true".

He insisted he could still work as an MP in an effective way, and added: "The party political element of my job will still stand."

Speaking later in a question-and-answer session with students, he said he was coping with the negative stories about himself and added: "You get quite inured. You are very calm and it is like sitting in a traffic jam on the M25. It is not complacency, but I am able to do that. But the reality was, I could have ended up in jail."

He concluded by apologising to his family and his constituents, telling the students: "Every opportunity I get I will say the same, in the House of Commons next week after my inevitable suspension as well.

"I can only reiterate the sorrow and feelings for people who were immediately affected."

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