71.Following the receipt of each complaint I carried out a preliminary investigation to establish if the complaint engaged the Code of Conduct, and concluded that both did so. Before reaching those conclusions in the cases of Hannah Bardell, Toby Perkins and Luke Pollard, I first interviewed them. Christian Bombolo’s written complaint was sufficient in its own right to pass preliminary assessment.
72.I informed Lord Maginnis of each complaint, sent him the details that the complainants had provided to me, and asked for his written response. Lord Maginnis’s responses were fragmented across several email chains and two interviews. Where possible, I provided the complainants with summaries of his responses.
73.Matthew Scott and I, with James Whittle supporting us, interviewed:
74.We also took evidence from other witnesses.
75.In accordance with paragraph 155 of the Guide to the Code, I produced separate draft reports of the facts in relation to each complaint. I sent the relevant factual reports to each complainant and sent all four to Lord Maginnis. Ms Bardell also received the draft factual reports for all four complaints as she was referred to extensively in each. Lord Maginnis’s response is included at Appendix 2. Ms Bardell’s response is included at Appendix 3.
76.Having reached my findings, I wrote again to Lord Maginnis to summarise my findings and to invite him to present any material he would wish me to take into account when considering my recommended sanction.
77.In the light of Lord Maginnis’s response (included at Appendix 4), I completed my report.
78.Due to the combination of multiple reports, recesses and the COVID-19 pandemic, these investigations have taken longer than I would have wished. I am grateful to all involved for their patience and engagement.
79.A chronology of the events described in this report is at Appendix 1.