Eric Joyce has attempted to play down the impact of the Falkirk selection row by suggesting the controversy is less scandalous than "sleeping with a prostitute or a Russian". The disgraced Falkirk MP, who was kicked out of the Labour party after committing an assault in a House of Commons bar, said there was a "structural logic and a political logic" to the alleged attempt by the Unite union to rig the process.
But the former Army major, who is stepping down in 2015, questioned whether Unite boss Len McCluskey was "thick" and claimed he would have to "accept defeat" or face being ousted.
In an interview with the New Statesman, Joyce suggested scandal was the wrong term to use about the furore and made an apparent reference to the alleged affair Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock had with Russian Katia Zatuliveter, who was accused by the Security Service of being a spy and passing information to Moscow, while she was his parliamentary adviser.
Joyce told the magazine: "A scandal is me whacking a few Tories in the bar, or more classically someone sleeping with a prostitute or a Russian... There's a structural logic and a political logic to all of this."
He questioned McCluskey's strategy over recent weeks, telling the magazine: "I don't know if Len's thick - maybe he's thick. It might simply be there's a wee cabal... But either way, I think McCluskey will have to back off completely and accept defeat or risk his position in the union."
Joyce also suggested his Commons brawling was a mid-life crisis and admitted his political career is "screwed".
"Life has been quite good," he said. "I've voted Labour, not that there was much voting going on. I'm happy in a relationship and all that stuff. Behaviourally, it was sort of a mid-life crisis... But one has to just try and move on from these things."
Last week Joyce became involved in a Twitter row in which he asked a constituent if they were "screwing" their sister.