Young and old, England's legislators discover the joys of drinking at work.

Indian legislators behaving badly in the House are a common sight, but imagine how much worse things might have been if, like the Palace of Westminster, Indian Parliament and state assemblies were dotted with bars with subsidised alcohol on tap. Often, things can get pretty rough.

Only last week, a senior Labour MP Eric Joyce got so violently drunk in the Commons “Strangers Bar” (since dubbed the “Stranglers Bar”) that several of his colleagues ended up with bloodied noses after he went on a rampage apparently without any provocation. He, of course, ended up in a police cell — charged with assault.

Mr. Joyce first picked on Tory MPs complaining that “there are too many*** (expletive deleted) Tories” and then laid into his own party colleagues who tried to intervene. “He just flipped... There was a bloodbath,” said one MP while another likened it to “the Wild West”.

The brawl prompted recollections of other incidents involving hard-drinking MPs. A party whip recalled how quite often MPs when dragged out from the bar to take part in voting didn't know “what they were voting for”. Some didn't remember next morning how they had voted the night before.

One young MP, new to the joys of drinking-while-at-work, excused himself from voting on grounds that he was in no condition to do so. Another slightly drunk MP, in a hurry to get to the division lobby, first bumped into an old lady and then punched a policeman who sought to stop him.

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At WorkSeptember 24, 2010