Unionist peer Maginnis denies calling MP 'queer' despite recording

Despite his protestations, there is an audio recording of Lord Ken Maginnis calling MP Hannah Bardell a 'queer'.

Ken Maginnis, an elderly man of heavy build with white hair looks pensively at the camera while standing outside

Unionist peer Lord Ken Maginnis is currently the subject of a police investigation for hate speech after he called openly lesbian MP Hannah Bardell a ‘queer’ in a derogatory manner.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police stated, “The Met’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team is looking into an allegation of hate crime at the House of Commons made to them on Thursday January 9.”

The incident occurred when Bardell pointed out in the House of Lords that Maginnis had subjected a member of security staff to a torrent of abuse after he was asked to show his pass at the entrance. His behaviour was considered reprehensible, but the peer was unrepentant, later telling the Huffington Post “Queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me…she’s got her cheap publicity out of it.”

Now, however, Maginnis has denied using the term, saying he has no recollection of it. In an interview with the BBC, he claimed, “I certainly didn’t call her a ‘queer’. Whether I was asked a question which used that particular term I’m not sure. It’s not something I remember.”

Unfortunately for the peer, Huffington Post journalist Art Singh has the recorded audio footage of their conversation, which he reshared on Twitter.

Commenting on the situation, Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, said, “The attack on the honourable lady was unutterably disgraceful and she is clearly owed an apology by the noble lord for what he said about her. I think everybody who heard about that was shocked by the comments that he is reported to have made.”

Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, added: “The reported behaviour and use of such language is totally unacceptable and has no place in Parliament. We are working hard to build an inclusive and respectful environment, and behaviour such as this totally undermines our collective efforts.”

Bardell herself shared, “The homophobic attack on me by Lord Maginnis is considered a hate crime and has been reported to police. We must set best possible standards for staff and LGBTQ people and send message that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable here or anywhere else.”

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