Canada’s Speaker of the House witnesses British MP fistfight

A file picture shows Britain's houses of parliament in 2010.Canada's Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer led a delegation this week to the British House of Commons to witness, first hand,  recent parliamentary procedural and administrative developments.

What he saw Wednesday night, however, is probably not what he had in mind.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that Scheer was part of a Canadian delegation invited to visit Strangers, one of several drinking establishments inside the British House of Commons.

There, according to reports, he was one of dozens of visitors who witnessed a shocking scene as Labour MP Eric Joyce, went on a violent rampage against Tory MPs.

Joyce, the member for Falkirk, reportedly began dancing erratically before shouting a disparaging remark about the Tories, dumping drinks on some fellow members, swinging his fists at several MPs who tried to calm him down.

He then head-butted Stuart Andrew, the Tory MP for Pudsey, punched a few more people - including several Labour MPs - and then head-butted Andrew again.

"He seemed to have had a lot to drink and was asked to quiet down," one witness told the Evening Standard.

"Then he flipped. It was not really a brawl or a fight, he just flipped. He then started lashing out.

"Poor Stuart was just having a quiet pint and minding his own business and Eric headbutted him. Stuart was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

According to the Evening Standard, Police were called at 10:50pm and it took five security officers to bring the situation under control.  Joyce, an ex-army major, was handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail where he remained Thursday.

The Labour party has suspended the MP, pending further investigation.

Apparently drunken parliamentary fights are not all that uncommon in the U.K..

The Globe notes heavy drinking is considered a serious problem in Britain's parliament.

"There are bars adjoining the Commons and Lords chambers which are packed before and after sittings; it is widely reported that some MPs have numerous drinks before attending sittings — even in the morning," the article states.

"Stories about drunken brawls and misbehaviour among parliamentarians abound."