Lord Maginnis: Northern Irish peer facing suspension for bullying and homophobic slurs towards MPs

Lord Maginnis should be suspended from the House of Lords for at least 18 months for bullying and harassment of three MPs and a security guard, the peers' standards watchdog has recommended.

The recommendation from the Lords Conduct Committee follows an investigation into the Northern Irish peer's treatment of a parliamentary security officer and MPs Hannah Bardell, Luke Pollard and Toby Perkins, during which he was found to have used homophobic slurs.

The committee suggested Lord Maginnis' suspension could be extended if he does not undergo training and change his ways.

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The ex-MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone was investigated after being "verbally abusive" to security officer Christian Bombolo when asked to show his parliamentary pass in January.

Mr Bombolo told Lords standards commissioner Lucy Scott-Moncrieff the incident had left him feeling "humiliated" and "worthless", adding "I lost my esteem, my dignity".

Responding to the watchdog's recommendation, the SNP's Ms Bardell, who witnessed the incident with Mr Bombolo, said Lord Maginnis would have been "shown the door" in "any normal workplace".

Noting his return is dependent on the peer undertaking a behaviour course, the Livingston MP tweeted: "However, I consider it likely that if this had happened in any normal workplace in the UK and someone behaved in such a systematically abusive, bullying and homophobic way, which the report clearly states he has, they would be shown the door."

According to the committee's report, Ms Bardell complained that when she attempted to intervene in the clash between the peer and the security guard, she was treated "rudely and aggressively" by Lord Maginnis, who later used "homophobic and derogatory language about her" in comments to the media.

In remarks made to Huffington Post at the time, Lord Maginnis was quoted as referring to Ms Bardell as "queer" and accused her off gaining "cheap publicity" by raising the incident as a point of order in the Commons.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed in January, after the clash was made public, that it was investigating an allegation of hate crime at the House of Commons.

Lord Maginnis was formerly an Ulster Unionist Party MP but in 2012 announced his decision to resign his membership after the leadership distanced themselves when he referred to gay marriage as "unnatural and deviant behaviour" and linked it to bestiality.

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