A former Ulster Unionist MP has dismissed claims from a gay Englishman that he was in a “loving relationship” with Lord Molyneaux.
Lord Ken Maginnis, who for decades was a close associate of the former party leader, was reacting to claims by Kent-based unionist Christopher Luke.
The former Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said: “Jim was courteous, concerned and a gentleman. He was just a decent old bachelor.
“It’s so unjust and unfair. This is not the Jim Molyneaux I knew since the early 1970s.”
Speculation about the sexuality of Lord Molyneaux, who remained a bachelor until his death, began after a memorial notice was posted in the Belfast Telegraph by Mr Luke.
Placed on the first anniversary of the peer’s death, it read: “I grieve for you...you were very dear to me.
“Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.”
Later in a BBC interview, Mr Luke said: “I had a very loving relationship with Jim. I loved him as a brother.
“He will always have a place in my heart. There was love between us, but there are different forms of love.”
But Lord Maginnis said he had never seen the pair together.
He said: “I would have been close to Jim Molyneaux not only as an MP but as a company commander in the UDR.”
Lord Maginnis also questioned a photograph (far right) showing Mr Luke with Lord Molyneaux.
He said: “When the photograph was taken, he [Molyneaux] would have been over 90 years old and beyond his power of recall.”
The family of Lord Molyneaux is maintaining a public silence over the claims, but a source who has been in touch with them said they were “very annoyed”.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has already questioned Mr Luke’s claims saying that there was nothing that suggested his former boss had any relationship with him.
And another senior party contemporary of Lord Molyneaux, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Luke sent material to many MPs at the time Jim was party leader and still sends letters to them today.
“I am virtually certain he had no close relationship of any kind with Jim at Westminster or anywhere else.”
unjust and unfair: Ken Maginnis has discredited the claims about the personal life
of Jim Molyneaux (right)