Lord Maginnis, an independent Ulster Unionist Peer, was found to have broken conduct rules by using homophobic language according to an investigation by the Lords Conduct Committee. The punishment is an 18-month suspension from The Lords, although that suspension could be increased if he fails to undertake a designated course of bespoke behaviour change training and coaching.
The Lords Conduct Committee, which made the investigation advised Lord Maginnis that he would need to take “behaviour training” or face an even longer suspension. Maginnis has refused to embark on the training, meaning that his suspension could run longer than a year and a half.
Maginnis has denied bullying and called the Lords Conduct Committee’s report “ridiculous” when it was published last week.
What did the investigation into Lord Maginnis find?
An inquiry into the Lord’s behaviour found that there were a series of complaints brought against 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.
Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell intervened and says that she was treated “rudely and aggressively”.
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.
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.
Who is Lord Maginnis?
Lord Maginnis, was the Ulster Unionist MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone between 1983 and 2001. He had previously served in the Ulster Defence Regiment. He became a life peer in 2001.