Baroness Nicholson will not be investigated for sharing ‘racist and transphobic’ content about Munroe Bergdorf despite complaints
Tory peer Baroness Nicholson will not be investigated by the House of Lords for bullying, despite the standards commissioner receiving hundreds of complaints about her behaviour towards Munroe Bergdorf.
Nicholson misgendered Bergdorf and called her a “weird creature” on Twitter in the week of June 22. She also retweeted a number of memes about the model, described by Bergdorf as “transphobic”, including one that featured a racist slur.
On June 24, the Booker Prize dropped Nicholson as its honorary vice president amid ongoing public controversy over her actions towards Bergdorf, as well as her views on trans people and same-sex marriage.
Now, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, the House of Lords commissioner for standards, has responded to those who reported the peer, saying that she will not be investigating.
Baroness Nicholson tweets ‘outside my power to investigate’, says Lords standards commissioner.
Confirming that she’s received “hundreds of complaints” regarding Nicholson’s comments about Bergdorf, Scott-Moncrieff added: “While I recognise that Lady Nicholson’s biography on Twitter makes her membership of the House clear, this does not mean that her conduct on Twitter can necessarily be considered a parliamentary activity.
Scott-Moncrieff’s letter, seen by PinkNews, continued: “In this instance there is no indication that Lady Nicholson came into contact with Munroe Bergdorf in the course of her parliamentary duties and activities or that there was any parliamentary dimension to her comments on Twitter.”
Nicholson’s conduct on Twitter, Scott-Moncrieff concluded, “is outside my power to investigate”.
Bergodorf wrote on Instagram on June 21 that Nicholson’s conduct “is not OK”.
“As patron of [trans children’s charity] Mermaids and someone who dedicates so much time and energy into campaigning for trans kids to have a voice, I’m absolutely disgusted that a member of the House of Lords is able to behave this way,” she said.
Nicholson refuted allegations of transphobia, racism and homophobia in a June 26 statement, saying: “I expressed myself casually, and in a manner which suggests that I do not support the rights of the LGBQT+ community, too and about Munroe Bergdorf.” She offered meet with Bergdorf to say sorry directly.
Bergdorf accepted on the condition Nicholson apologises “unreservedly to all trans people and their families on Twitter who have been caused great pain by a number of your tweets”, rejecting her claim that her tweets were sent in error.
PinkNews has contacted Baroness Nicholson for comment.
House of Lords commissioner’s letter about Baroness Nicholson in full.
In her letter, Scott-Moncrieff said: “I have received hundreds of complaints concerning Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and her comments on Twitter about Munroe Bergdorf.
“In accordance with the Code of Conduct I have conducted a preliminary assessment of these complaints to determine whether they fall within the scope of the Code and my remit to investigate.
“The Code of Conduct sets out the standards expected of members of the House of Lords in the discharge of their parliamentary duties and activities.
“Paragraph 17 of the Code requires members to treat those with whom they come into contact in the course of their parliamentary duties and activities with respect and courtesy.
“The complaints I have received related to Baroness Nicholson’s comments on Twitter. While I recognise that Lady Nicholson’s biography on Twitter makes her membership of the House clear, this does not mean that her conduct on Twitter can necessarily be considered a parliamentary activity.
“In this instance there is no indication that Lady Nicholson came into contact with Munroe Bergdorf in the course of her parliamentary duties and activities or that there was any parliamentary dimension to her comments on Twitter.
“The conduct complained of therefore does not fail within the scope of the Code and it is outside my power to investigate.
“Some of the complaints I have received have questioned whether Lady Nicholson’s comments on Twitter ought to affect her position within the Conservative Party and her role as a government trade envoy.
“These are matters for the Conservative Party and the government respectively.
“They are not issued on which I can comment.
“In reaching my conclusions about these complaints I have only considered whether the conduct alleged engaged the Code of Conduct. I have taken no view on issues raised and my conclusions should not be read as such.
“I am sorry to be sending you a standard reply, not personalised to the details of your complaint; as I have received so many complaints it has not been possible to deal with each complaints individually.”