Gay MP to report peer to police for calling her ‘queer’

A gay MP has said she will report a peer to the police for an alleged hate crime after he called her a “queer”.

Hannah Bardell had accused independent unionist peer Lord Maginnis of verbally abusing security staff on the parliamentary estate after he forgot his security pass.

Peers, MPs and others who have undergone security checks receive parliamentary passes which enable them to enter the estate at several points.

The HuffPost news website reported that Lord Maginnis did not deny the SNP MP’s claims and quoted him saying: “Queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me. OK, she’s got her cheap publicity out of it.”

Lord Maginnis
Lord Maginnis

Speaking during business questions, Ms Bardell told MPs: “I’m sorry to say that the member from the other place (the House of Lords) 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 that I and others consider this to be a hate crime.”

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs: “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 and has not denied.

“I think they are really appalling, and I know we are not allowed to criticise members of the other house, the other place, except on a specific motion, but I think under these circumstances we are allowed to stretch the rules.”

On Wednesday, Ms Bardell, MP for Livingston, outlined the alleged incident to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in a point of order.

I’m pretty angry and upset not least because I could at any time bump into this guy in my place of work. However I’m very conscious that LGBT people across the UK and beyond face much worse on a daily basis. No one should have to put up with it.

— Hannah Bardell MP 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏳️‍🌈 (@HannahB4LiviMP) January 9, 2020

She said: “Yesterday, on re-entering the building for the first time after Christmas, I witnessed one of the worst cases of abuse of security staff that I have seen in my time here.

“One of the members of the other place – who I will name so as not to incriminate anybody else: Lord Ken Maginnis – had forgotten his pass, something we’ve all been guilty of.

“However, instead of taking the advice of the security staff – who, as we all know, are here for our security and our safety – he proceeded to verbally abuse and shout at both the members of staff, calling them ‘crooked’, saying ‘did they not know who he was, he’d been here 46 years’, and refusing to take the advice and assistance of both myself, the security staff and the police that then attended.”

Lord Maginnis was formerly an Ulster Unionist Party MP and later represented the party in the Lords.

In 2012, he announced his decision to resign his membership after the leadership distanced themselves when he referred to gay marriage as “unnatural and deviant behaviour”.

His affiliation in the Lords since July 2013 has been listed as Independent Ulster Unionist.

He has been approached for comment.