House of Lords suspends Lord Maginnis for 18 months

The British House of Lords has voted to suspend Lord Maginnis for 18 months after being accused of bullying, harassment, and homophobia.

Lord Ken Maginnis, House of Lords suspends

The British House of Lords suspended Lord Ken Maginnis for at least 18 months over allegations of bullying, harassment and homophobia. This suspension was decided in a vote, the motion carried 408 to 24.

On Monday the House’s conduct committee found the former Ulster Unionist Party MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone guilty of bullying three MPs and a security guard. The committee also suggested the 18-month suspension could be extended if he did not undergo behavioural training and mend his ways. Lord Maginnis of Drumglass had denied the allegations and described the committee’s findings as “ridiculous”.

The former Ulster Unionist MP was investigated for allegedly being verbally abusive to a Westminster security officer Christian Bombolo and three MPs: Hannah Bardell, Luke Pollard and Toby Perkins.

In January, he stated that he was told unnecessarily to take a circuitous route into the House of Lords after difficulty locating his security pass, citing his trouble walking due to illness. Lord Maginnis became rude and aggressive during the exchange with the security officer, Mr Bombolo.

Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell intervened in what she calls “one of the worst cases of abuse of security staff” she had witnessed. Lord Maginnis who later used “homophobic and derogatory language about her” in comments to the media, such as this quote by The Huffington Post at the time as saying, “queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me”.

Ahead of the House Of Lords decision, he was also investigated for using homophobic language about Labour MP Luke Pollard. In February he became annoyed with Pollard’s chairing of a British armed forces all-party parliamentary group, prompting him to send an email of complaint with the heading, “Discrimination by Homos”.

Bombolo told Lords standards commissioner Lucy Scott-Moncrieff the incident had left him feeling humiliated and worthless, adding “I lost my esteem, my dignity”. Pollard said the email made him feel like a victim of abuse.

Lord Maginnis has tried to turn the tables, claiming he had been a victim of a campaign against him by the LGBTQ+ rights group Stonewall. The organisation, in turn, said Lord Maginnis should “step up and accept responsibility for his behaviour and apologise to those he has hurt”.

Maginnis told BBC Radio Ulster last week that he had “held responsible positions all my life. At 83 years of age, I’m not going to be dictated to in this way.”

These incidents are not the first time the Ulster Unionist Party MP has been accused of bullying and homophobia. In 2012, Lord Maginnis had been a UUP peer but resigned his membership after the leadership criticised him for referring to gay marriage as “unnatural and deviant behaviour” and comparing homosexuality with bestiality.

MP Bardell said she was disappointed by the ban of Lord Maginnis and that “in any normal workplace anywhere in the UK, this would be a sackable offence”.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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