03 December 2020 16:33
A peer who abused a security guard and called an MP that tried to intervene "queer" faces an 18-month suspension after an inquiry found him guilty of using "homophobic and offensive" language. The House of Lords Conduct Committee recommended the sanction for Lord Maginnis alongside behaviour change training, with a warning that he could be barred from Parliament for even longer if he fails to engage constructively with the course. It argued that the nine-month period of suspension previously proposed by the Lords Standards Commissioner Lucy Scott-Moncrieff should be doubled after the Ulster Unionist peer showed "no remorse for the upset he had caused". The case centres around the testimony of three MPs and parliamentary security officer Christian Bombolo, who told the commissioner that an altercation with Lord Maginnis had left him feeling "humiliated" and "worthless". During the incident on Jan 7, Mr Bombolo refused to grant the peer access to the estate after he failed to produce his security pass.
At this point, the security worker claimed in evidence, the peer became abusive and shouted at him. When Lord Maginnis later recounted the episode to journalists, he described Mr Bombolo as "crooked", a "little git" and a "jobsworth". SNP MP Hannah Bardell (below) was present during the altercation and said in evidence that she was treated "rudely and aggressively" by the peer when she attempted to intervene. She later raised the issue in the Commons, describing it as "one of the worst cases of abuse of security staff I have seen".