27/02/2012 05:26 GMT | Updated 27/02/2012 05:34 GMT

Eric Joyce 'Should Do The Right Thing' If Convicted Of Assault

Eric Joyce should resign as MP for Falkirk West if he is convicted of assaulting a fellow politician, the chairman of his local Labour Party has indicated.

Martin Murray, the chairman of the Falkirk party, said he hoped Joyce would "do the right thing" if found guilty of attacking Conservative MP Stewart Andrew.

"It is a matter of grave disappointment that Eric Joyce MP has been involved in an alleged incident," he told the BBC on Sunday.

"Falkirk CLP do not condone such alleged conduct and welcome the prompt suspension by the Labour Party of Mr Joyce.

"Falkirk expects and deserves the best representation and highest standards of behaviour from its elected representatives. If the alleged events are proven then we expect Mr Joyce to do the right thing."

Joyce's resignation would trigger a by-election. Labour currently enjoys a 7,843 majority over the SNP in the constituency.

Under current rules MPs do not automatically lose their seat unless they are sentenced to 12 months or more in prison.

This recently caused uproar after Labour MP Eric Illsley initially refused to resign despite being convicted of expenses fraud. He was later persuaded to step down.

The government aims to amend the rules so any MP convicted and sentenced to less than 12 months in jail would automatically face re-election by voters.

Joyce took the Falkirk seat in 2000 in a by-election, after the incumbent Labour MP Dennis Canavan quit the party in 2000 in order to stand as an independent in the Scottish parliamentary elections.