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CREDIT: Jake Hook

Lord Maginnis who is an Independent Ulster Unionist, is facing suspension from the Lords after an inquiry found that he had bullied three MPs and one security guard, using anti-gay language.

The Lords Conducts Committee has recommended an 18-month suspension, which is one of the longest ever handed down and will come into effect if it is voted for by Lords on the 7th December.

An inquiry into the Lord’s behaviour found that there were a series of complaints brought against Lord Maginnis in early 2020.

First, there was a report from a parliamentary security officer, Christian Bombolo, who reported that the Maginnis was “verbally abusive” after he was requested to show his pass to enter the Palace of Westminster on 7 January.

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Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell intervened and says that she was treated “rudely and aggressively”.

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On 11 February, Lord Maginnis apparently became “agitated” during a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces when not called upon to ask a question. He apparently addressed “rude remarks” to the meeting’s chair, Labour MP Luke Pollard.

The 82-year-old Lord then complained about Mr Pollard via email sent to a number of parliamentarians – including the APPG chair, Conservative MP James Gray. The email apparently contained a “homophobic subject line” allegedly, “Discrimination by Homos” and contained “remarks about Mr Pollard which centred on his sexual orientation and were homophobic”.

Lord Maginnis later discussed the incident with the media, using “disrespectful and derogatory” language about Mr Bombolo and “homophobic and derogatory” language about Ms Bardell.

Labour MP Toby Perkins asked Lord Maginnis what had happened, and claimed that the peer answered by being “homophobic, aggressive and disrespectful, including by making further homophobic remarks” about Mr Pollard and Ms Bardell, the inquiry found.

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A few weeks later on 4 March, Lord Maginnis was embroiled in a “heated discussion” with Mr Gray at an APPG breakfast meeting after he was told he couldn’t attend due to his behaviour towards Mr Pollard.

In a normal workplace Lord Maginnis would be “shown the door”

Speaking about the potential 18-month ban, Ms Bardell said,

“I appreciate that an 18-month ban is a serious sanction and that Lord Maginnis’s return to the House of Lords will be dependent upon him undertaking ‘a designated course of bespoke behaviour change training and coaching’,” said the Livingston MP.

“However I consider it likely that if this had happened in any normal workplace in the UK and someone behaved in such a systematically abusive, bullying and homophobic way, which the report clearly states he has, they would be shown the door.”

The report said that the recommended suspension of 18-months, the longest ever dished out, should not finish until Maginnis has completed behaviour change training showing that he is “able to demonstrate a clear understanding of how his behaviour impacts on other people in the parliamentary community”. 

Lord Maginnis has a history of unacceptable behaviour and comments towards LGBT+ people

In June 2012 the Ulster Unionist Party whip was withdrawn from Lord Maginnis by party leader Mike Nesbit over his anti-gay remarks, where Lord Maginnis likened gay marriage to bestiality on Northern Ireland’s Stephen Nolan Show. Lord Maginnis said that gay marriage was, ‘a rung on the ladder’ to ‘other deviant practices’ and ‘Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?’

In 2012, Lord Maginnis was nominated by Stonewall for the Bigot Of The Year award and when approached by THEGAYUK for a comment he called the outlet an, “aggressive, perverse and corrupting influence on susceptible and vulnerable young people”.