|Eric Joyce making his statement today|
So there was growing speculation leading up to 4:15 of what the personal statement from Eric Joyce the MP for Falkirk would contain.
He admitted that his behaviour in the Strangers Bar was not befitting of anyone in the House, or anywhere. He said he will be following the restrictions of his sentence the the precincts of the Palace of Westminster as elsewhere and that there were personal issues that he had to deal with.
He apologised to the MPs and Councillors who he has assaulted and who the court last Friday ordered him to pay damages. As well as to the Police Officers who were involved in his arrest. As well as his constituents who he would apologise too elsewhere and in other ways.
He thanked the messages of support from all sides of the House of Commons and the Lords.
Then he came to the final statement.
" I have today tendered my resignation as a member of the Labour party to my party leader."
So Falkirk now have an Independent MP by the name of Eric Joyce, with no connections currently or in the future to any political party.
His statement in full:
"Thank you, Mr Speaker. Hon. Members will be aware of the events in the Strangers Bar on 22 February, during which the standard of my conduct fell egregiously below what is required of a Member of this House or, indeed, of anyone, anywhere. I am grateful for this opportunity to apologise without reservation to the House, and, in particular, to the hon. Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), my hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Phil Wilson), the hon. Members for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy), for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) and for Thurrock (Jackie Doyle-Price), Councillors Luke Mackenzie and Ben Maney, police officers on the night and, indeed, everyone else affected by my actions that evening; clearly that will not be an exhaustive list. They have all shown considerable grace in their public comment, for which I am very grateful. I do, of course, have other apologies to make, including to my constituents, and I will take other opportunities outside this place to do so at greater length.
"Sir, I would like to express my thanks to Members on both sides of the House, and indeed the other place, who have contacted me to express concern, however undeserved it is on my part. Clearly, I have a number of personal issues to address and you can be assured that this will take place. In the meantime, Members will know that certain short-term constraints have been quite rightly placed on me by the court. I will, of course, observe them strictly within the parliamentary precincts as well as elsewhere.
"I would also like to inform the House that I have today tendered my resignation as a member of the Labour party to my party leader. Thank you, Sir."