Disgraced MP Eric Joyce may force by-election

Eric Joyce: Forced out after conviction for assaulting MPs. Picture: PA
Eric Joyce: Forced out after conviction for assaulting MPs. Picture: PA
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Falkirk MP Eric Joyce has said he will make a decision on whether to stand down and force a by-election in the next few days, following a row over the Labour Party’s selection of his successor.

Mr Joyce was forced out of Labour Party and said he would stand down as the MP for Falkirk West after he was convicted of assaulting Conservative politicians in the Commons last year.

However, Joyce, who now sits as an independent, said he would abandon his plans to stay on until the next general election and resign now unless allegations over a “fix” to select Labour’s candidate for the seat were resolved.

The UK party suspended the selection process for a new candidate in Falkirk West, amid reports that the Unite trade union had recruited dozens of new members to help its favoured contender, Karie Murphy.

Joyce told The Scotsman that unless party leader Ed Miliband took control of Labour’s selection of the candidate for Falkirk, he would seriously consider standing down.

He said he was expecting a reply this week to a letter he sent to Labour asking the UK party leadership to take charge of the selection.

The MP went onto claim that there were discrepancies in the way that Labour Party members had been signed up to take part in the selection process.

He said: “I feel very strongly that the UK party should take control and start from scratch.

“I’ll decide this week when I get the letter back, but Ed Miliband needs to take control of this.

“People have been signed up with wrong names and there have been people ineligible to vote, people who moved years ago.

“I’ve also been told about people in the pub saying, ‘Just put my name in as a member’.”

Joyce also claimed that Labour could lose the Falkirk seat at the next general election, in the same way that the party lost the Holyrood seat for the area to Dennis Canavan in 1999, when the left-winger stood as an independent candidate.

He said: “I want Labour to win the seat, but if people think there’s been a fix, they may punish Labour by voting for the SNP.”