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Unionist peer Maginnis accused of 'abusing' Westminster security staff

Lord Ken Maginnis
Lord Ken Maginnis

An MP has accused a peer from Northern Ireland of "abusing" security staff on the parliamentary estate.

The SNP's Hannah Bardell used a point of order to name Lord Ken Maginnis as the subject of her allegation.

She claimed Lord Maginnis had forgotten his pass to enter Parliament and called security workers "crooked" when they offered him advice about what to do.

Peers, MPs and others who have undergone security checks are among the parliamentary passholders, which enables them to enter the estate at several points provided they have their pass with them.

Lord Maginnis served as the UUP MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1983 until 2001.

After standing down as an MP he was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Maginnis of Drumglass.

Speaking in the House of Commons chamber, Ms Bardell told Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: "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 (Lords), 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 member 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.

"I have reported this incident to the authorities but I seek your advice as the member is not elected, so I'm interested to know to whom he is accountable and what can be done to make sure no member of staff on the estate is ever treated in that way or abused in the manner which I and others witnessed yesterday."

Sir Lindsay replied: "No member of staff of either House should have to put up with abuse.

"I would say we have a policy that runs through all of this estate and I'd always encourage members to respect the people carrying out their duties to make sure we are safe.

"What I would also say is normally we would not name a member of either House in this way, but what I do take very seriously is that staff carrying out their duties should not have to put up with abuse.

"We are aware of the situation. I'd expect those in another place (the Lords) to look into that and I want to reassure those staff that it will not be tolerated and we will ensure that message goes across to all members of both Houses."

In 2012 Lord Maginnis announced his decision to resign his membership of the UUP after then leader Mike Nesbitt distanced the party 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.

In August 2013 Lord Maginnis was found guilty of assaulting a man in a road rage incident.

He was fined in 2016 after boarding a train in London with the incorrect ticket.

Lord Maginnis and the House of Lords have been approached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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