Life in the Westminster Bubble – welcome to 2020

The following is reported by Rebecca Taylor at Sky News online UK, dated 9th January 2020. The headline reads:

SNP MP reports member of House of Lords to police after he ‘called her queer’

Lord Ken Maginnis was recorded calling Hannah Bardell a “queer” after she called out his abusive behaviour at the security gates.

The reporter writes:

A gay MP has reported a member of the House of Lords to the police after he called her “queer”.

Hannah Bardell, who is an SNP MP, told the Commons on Wednesday that she had seen Lord Ken Maginnis abuse security staff when he forgot his pass after turning up to work on the first day back from Christmas recess.

When the Huffington Post went to Lord Maginnis for comment, their reporter recorded him responding: “Queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me. OK, she’s got her cheap publicity out of it.”

In the Commons on Thursday, Ms Bardell said: “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.”

Lord Maginnis had told the BBC he did not use the word, but the Huffington Post released the audio.

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.”

Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, said the language had “no place in parliament” and added: “We are working hard to build an inclusive and respectful environment, and behaviour such as this totally undermines our collective efforts.

“Security on the parliamentary estate is everyone’s responsibility. Any disregard for security rules is against the interests of us all. Our security staff do a difficult job with the utmost professionalism and deserve support from all members.”

Ms Bardell had recalled the incident on Wednesday after PMQs, saying: “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.”

A Met Police spokesman said: “The Met’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team is looking into an allegation of hate crime at the House of Commons made to them on Thursday, 9 January.”

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

He resigned his membership in 2012 after the leadership distanced themselves from him because he referred to gay marriage as “unnatural and deviant behaviour”.

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

end of report – link to follow below.

Now, I know that we must be aware of media hype and distortion but this report I believe to be substantially correct for the simple reason that I saw Hannah Bardell make her complaint just after PMQs yesterday as a point of order, live on the parliamentary tv channel.

I was a little nonplussed as to how a Member of the Commons could make a point of Order about a member of the other House during a session of points of Order ref Commons business – but then perhaps I am behind the times.

After all, the new fangled Supreme Court can brazenly attempt to overthrow the very fundamentals of the English constitution and think it can get away with it – why should not a Member of the Commons stretch a point and call into question an old man getting out of his pram on the estate of parliament at Westminster ? At least there can be no dispute as to whether or not this was indeed “a proceeding in parliament”. That was precisely where all this took place.

An interesting proceeding, indeed,  where rules and regulations appear to over-ride the reason for the very existence of those rules and regulations – to whit a pass for someone who has been attending the palace of Westminster for 46 years; a pass whose purpose is to confirm the entitlement of the person’s presence, not confer it. 

Parliamentarians still don’t quite get it, do they ? Too many of them behave in the ways outlined above, and then wonder why people are distanced from politics and don’t trust politicians. We now regularly witness one third of the electorate not voting in General Elections.

The largest ‘party’ in every major poll is the one we might call “WE DONT WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN WHAT APPEARS TO US TO BE A FARCE AND A TRAVESTY OF GOVERNMENT IN FACE OF ALL THE VERY REAL PROBLEMS WHICH WE WITNESS EVERY DAY IN OUR ORDINARY INSIGNIFICANT LITTLE LIVES”.

The long suffering electorate and taxpayers are expected to exercise inordinate  patience and to live in eternal hope that parliamentarians will one day wake up to the meaning of the word Democracy and stop viewing the world solely via their personal priorities.

Ray Catlin

link at

https://news.sky.com/story/snp-mp-reports-member-of-house-of-lords-to-police-after-he-called-her-queer-11904875