Ken Maginnis: MP to report peer to police over ‘queer’ comments

Media captionLord Maginnis LGBT comments to be reported to police

An SNP MP has told the House of Commons she will report Lord Maginnis to police for alleged homophobic comments.

Hannah Bardell said she will make a police report after the peer was quoted as calling her “queer”.

She claimed he had accused her of attempting to “settle a score” after she raised claims of abusive behaviour towards parliamentary staff.

On Wednesday, Lord Maginnis defended his actions towards security staff, saying he was in pain due to arthritis.

‘Offensive language’

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg urged the peer to apologise, calling the comments “disgraceful”.

The Lord Speaker of the House of Lords issued a statement saying he was “deeply concerned” by reports that a peer had directed “offensive language” towards parliamentary security staff and an MP.

Lord Maginnis
Image captionLord Maginnis told BBC News NI he had been “slightly touchy” with security personnel

Addressing the Commons on Thursday afternoon, Ms Bardell said: “I’m sorry to say the member from the other place who I have complained about has now launched a homophobic attack on me in the press.

“This will be reported to the police and I know I, and others, consider this to be a hate crime.”

Speaking about the original incident at Parliament security on Tuesday, Lord Maginnis told BBC News NI he had been stopped at the security desk because he was not displaying his pass which was in his bag.

He said he was “slightly touchy” because there was no chair at security and cited the fact he suffers from arthritis and has nerve damage in his feet.

On Thursday, Lord Maginnis accused Ms Bardell of having an “ulterior motive”.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme, he said: “The next thing this Scottish lassie, I forget her name, I’ve never seen her before, she was there and she stood up in the House of Commons and made a scene about my being bad tempered, which was quite true.

“It’s very strange, she must have an ulterior motive. I haven’t discovered what that is yet”.

‘Totally unacceptable’

In a statement, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, said: “I am deeply concerned by recent reports of a Member of the House of Lords directing offensive language towards parliamentary security staff and a Member of Parliament”.

“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.”

Lord Fowler
Image captionLord Fowler said the reported comments and behaviour had no place in Parliament

Lord Fowler added: “Security on the parliamentary estate is everyone’s responsibility. Any disregard for security rules is against the interests of us all.

“Our security staff do a difficult job with the utmost professionalism and deserve support from all members.”

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