Peer who thinks being gay is a ‘disease’ suspended from House of Lords after shocking tirades about ‘queers’ and ‘homos’
Lord Maginnis, the peer accused of bullying gay MPs and ranting about “homos”, has been officially suspended from the House of Lords after his colleagues voted to eject him.
The politician, a former MP for Northern Ireland’s Ulster Unionist Party, was suspended from the unelected upper chamber on Monday (7 December) as peers voted by 408 to 24 to back a report concluding his abusive conduct and use of homophobic language breached rules on bullying and harassment.
The 24 peers who voted against the suspension include the avowedly anti-LGBT+ former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, hereditary peer The Earl of Sandwich, and former Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who was handed a peerage by Boris Johnson earlier this year.
The suspension from the chamber is specified as for a “minimum of 18 months”. However, Maginnis is unlikely to ever return to the chamber, as he has said he will not take undertake “a designated course of bespoke behaviour change training and coaching” as specified by Lords conduct authorities.
Lord Maginnis lashed out at ‘queers’ and ‘homos’
Ken Maginnis, 82, is accused of directing homophobic abuse towards SNP MP Hannah Bardell and Labour MP Luke Pollard, who are both gay, as well as abusing parliamentary security officer Christian Bombolo.
According to the report, Lord Maginnis screamed abuse at Bombolo on 7 January 2020 as he tried to enter the building without his security pass. The incident was raised in the House of Commons by Bardell, who called it “one of the worst cases of abuse of security staff I have seen”.
Lord Maginnis dismissed the MP’s concerns, claiming said she only criticised him because she is “queer” and was seeking “cheap publicity” because of his opposition to same-sex marriage. “Queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me,” the peer said.
A month after the run-ins with Bombolo and Bardell, he directed abuse towards Pollard, deputy chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the armed forces, after he was not called to speak at a meeting.
In an email with the subject “Discrimination by Homos”, Maginnis raged: “I’m not prepared to be victimised by ‘queers’ – not least by those like Pollard and that ‘lady’ Hannah Bardell, the Scots Nat who recently sought to embarrass me.
“Please note that if that chap appears again in the chair of our group I will challenge his credentials. I’m neither someone to be bullied or intimidated.”
The email also boasted of his 2012 nomination by Stonewall as bigot of the year for comments that led to his removal from the Ulster Unionist Party, when he described homosexuality as a “disease” and claimed equal marriage would be a “rung on the ladder” towards bestiality.
Maginnis further claimed that the pair were “obviously part of the ongoing campaign against me because of MY views on the matter relating to the Cameron initiative”, referring to the 2013 vote on same-sex marriage, though Bardell only became an MP in 2015 and Pollard in 2017.
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Far from distance himself from his comments, Maginnis has sought to double down telling parliamentary authorities he would not “be ‘hung-out-to-dry’ by Stonewall or its acolytes” and claiming he was being victimised by Pollard and Bardell for his views on what he described as their “behavioural inclinations”.
In a statement last week as the suspension of Maginnis was recommended, Bardell said: “The extent of Lord Maginnis’s behaviour is now laid bare for all to read and my goodness is it a worrying and depressing read. That someone who is in a position of such power and influence and who is a lawmaker, can think it appropriate to behave in such a manner is truly astonishing.”
She added: “As we seek to make politics and indeed the nations of the UK, fairer and more just, we must root out abusive and homophobic behaviour such as that which I and others experienced at the hands of Lord Ken Maginnis.
“I will never shy away from doing that and whilst this experience has had a profound impact on my mental and emotional health, I am glad that I stood up and spoke out.”
Full list of House of Lords members who rejected report on homophobic bullying
Lord Balfe (Conservative)
Lord Bhatia (Non-affiliated)
Baroness Buscombe (Conservative)
Lord Cavendish of Furness (Conservative)
Lord Carey of Clifton (Crossbench)
Baroness Eaton (Conservative)
The Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench)
Lord Framlingham (Conservative)
Lord Fraser of Corriegarth (Conservative)
Lord James of Blackheath (Conservative)
Lord Jordan (Labour)
Lord Kilclooney (Crossbench)
Lord Leitch (Labour)
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass (Independent Ulster Unionist)
Lord Marlesford (Conservative)
Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown (Democratic Unionist Party)
Lord Moore of Etchingham (Non-affiliated)
Lord Morrow (Democratic Unionist Party)
Lord Rana (Conservative)
Lord Sheikh (Conservative)
Lord Suri (Conservative)
Lord Stone of Blackheath (Non-affiliated)
Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated)
Lord Young of Graffham (Conservative)