Commons brawler Eric Joyce MP defends Joey Barton

Eric Joyce dismissed outrage at Joey Barton's conduct
Eric Joyce dismisses outrage at Joey Barton's conduct
Alex Stevenson By

QPR midfielder Joey Barton's controversial conduct last weekend has met with a staunch defence from disgraced MP Eric Joyce.

Mr Joyce, whose violently brawl with a Tory backbencher in a parliamentary bar cost him his membership of the Labour party, said he found criticisms of Barton's conduct "nauseating".

"From an angry response to provocation... [and] a momentary loss of temper in a highly-charged situation, Barton's lapse has morphed into a piece of contemporary action art portraying the fall of man," he wrote in a typically outspoken blog post. "What the f*** are people talking about?"

Barton faces disciplinary proceedings brought by the FA after kicking Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and headbutting Vincent Kompany during Sunday's match against City at the Etihad Stadium.

Mr Joyce, who was banned from entering pubs for three months, given a 12-month community order and fined £3,000 for lashing out in the Commons' Stranger's Bar, made clear his views on physical violence had not altered in recent months.

"If people want to be appalled by human violence and its consequences, they should get themselves to the Eastern Congo, where millions have died and continue to die daily at the hands of maniacs with AK47s, their wives and families raped then murdered with machetes on a daily basis," he wrote in the piece, headed 'Joey Barton and a nation's blind hysteria'.

"What's going on when people want to suspend all their normal value judgements when it comes to football? Politicians are carping about huge salaries but leaving out footballers; council-tax payers are preferring that their money is spent on propping up some crap local football team rather than granny's care-home; Scotland's journalists turn a blind-eye to the mess of Rangers FC, then go mental and turn it into the only story which matters here."

He concluded: "Extrapolating moral and ethical significance from a football match looks like your life might be a bit shite... and your polemic sounds more like an existential cry for help."

The Falkirk MP was unreservedly apologetic after his violent fight in the Commons in February this year, telling MPs in an apology that he had "a number of personal issues to address".

His attitude since then appears to have changed, however. Last month he related the details of his fight with gusto in an interview, telling the Mail on Sunday newspaper that "it wasn't a fight, it was me on the rampage".

Mr Joyce said he had been in around 100 punch-ups over the years. "If someone is walking along innocently and gets assaulted, that's one thing," he said.

"But if a couple of guys have decided to sort it out among themselves, let them crack on with it. The police have got better things to do."


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