The conduct of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Contents

Appendix 3: Hannah Bardell’s response to the factual report

On page 2, point 7[15] the report states ‘In writing and orally Lord Maginnis queried whether [Christian Bombolo] had been coached by Hannah Bardell MP in making his complaint’

There are also numerous other references in Lord Maginnis’s evidence to suggest I coached [Christian Bombolo].

That statement is wholly untrue and completely inaccurate, I did not know the name of the security guard or have any contact with him until after he had given his evidence to the Commissioner. The only time I have had any contact with him following the incident was a chance meeting some time afterwards when I was walking through the Lords to an event and he stopped me to thank me for raising the issue and to tell me how humiliated and upset he had been by the way Lord Maginnis had spoken to him. He advised me then that he had given his evidence to the Commissioner. So the suggestion that I could have coached him is completely ridiculous.

On page 4 point 14–the report states, ‘Lord Maginnis’s response to Ms Bardell’s complaint was to complain that she had “imposed herself on me, covertly and dishonestly”. He considered that her complaint was based purely on his opposition to same-sex marriage and that Ms Bardell’s complaint was part of an organised campaign to persecute him. He said that he would not “be ‘hung-out-to-dry’ by Stonewall or its acolytes”.

This is also a completely inaccurate statement. As per my evidence I did not impose myself on anyone, I had the sad misfortune to be simply entering the building at the same time as Lord Maginnis and had no choice but to be in the same small entrance space as him in the day in question so as to enter the building. There was nothing covert or dishonest about my approach to Lord Maginnis in fact my intervention was designed to both help him with his situation and diffuse the situation and stop the abuse of a member of Parliamentary security staff.

Lord Maginnis’s assertion that my complaint was based on his opposition to same sex marriage is also completely untrue. For a start I had no idea who the man was when I challenged him at the time of the incident–I had to google him subsequently to find out who he was and once I’d clarified that I raised my Point of Order. That Point of Order was quite simply, to do with the fact that he had been abusive to a member of security staff. It strikes me that Lord Maginnis has intentionally referred to my sexuality and his opposition to same sex marriage as a way of antagonising me and trying to evade facing up to his own bad behaviour and inappropriate conduct. I find it deeply troubling that instead of confronting his own poor behaviour he is diverting from the issue by suggesting that my sexuality and his views has something to do with my raising genuine concerns about his behaviour, it amounts to, in my view, an attempt to silence me.

Further to these points Lord Maginnis makes … .He suggests in the report that “whole lying tirade” suggested “serious mental illness and psychopathic disorder” on Ms Bardell’s part.

In relation to Ms Bardell becoming upset in her interview with us, Lord Maginnis responded:

“As for her informality to the Commissioner, that did surprise me as, indeed, does the official recorded observation of her interview … that she showed emotion!!!

“I must remember to bring some concentrated pollen with me when we next meet; otherwise I doubt that I could match her acting ability!!!!”

The suggestion that I have a “serious mental illness and psychopathic disorder” simply because I have made a complaint against a member of the House of Lords for bad behaviour is something that I find both shocking and offensive. Whilst I have stated in my subsequent interviews that this whole episode has had a profound impact on my mental health and personal life (not least because I have received death threats as a result of speaking publicly) I have neither a serious mental illness nor a psychopathic disorder and to suggest I do and that is the reason I have stood up to his bad behaviour, is demeaning, offensive and grossly inappropriate. To my mind it constitutes a further breach of the members code and I’m really taken aback by his assertion.

The further comments about my showing emotion and the suggestion that I was somehow acting are similarly insulting and derogatory. Lord Maginnis’s whole response is lacking in humanity or any kind of understanding about what appropriate or professional conduct is or should be. It’s very clear from the testimony of others, particularly the security guard who was verbally abused, that Lord Maginnis’s behaviour and conduct has had a profound impact on many others not just me.

On the further complaints which I have only become aware of on reading this report I would make the following observation.

Firstly, until recently I felt very alone and isolated in this process. The Commissioners office have been excellent and hugely professional, but nonetheless, until reading the full details had no idea that so many others had come forward to make similar complaints.

Until reading these broader complaints, where I am named as some kind of co-conspirator or ring leader (also completely wrong and ridiculous) I was unaware of the scale of Lord Maginnis’s behaviour in recent times. As the Lords Commissioner identifies in her report, I was aware and felt I had a duty to raise complaints from other staff members who had advised me of previous historic behaviour they had witnessed by Lord Maginnis. I accept that they are outside the scope of this investigation however I was unaware of the severity of other behaviour and how my name had been used in relation to recent incidents, until now. I am grateful to the Commissioner’s office for sharing these with me now before full publication.

I am profoundly shocked by what I’ve read in this report. That a Member of the House of Lords has been conducting himself in such a manner and using the fact that I raised a complaint about his behaviour towards staff as the reason why other elected members have rightly challenged Lord Maginnis’s further homophobic and inappropriate behaviour is a source of deep concern and worry to me.

As elected members, legislators and public servants we are rightly expected to uphold an oath of office to behave in a decent and lawful manner in line with the standards of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It strikes me that the behaviour that I and others have witnessed and been subject to by Lord Maginnis falls way short of that. It would therefore be remarkable for him to be allowed to continue as a legislator and member of the House of Lords. To allow him to remain in post risks the wellbeing and safety of other members, staff and potentially members of the public–particularly those from the LGBTQ+ community and that absolutely cannot be allowed. Everyone employed on the estate has a right to do their job and go about their business free from discrimination and intimidation and as things stand, with what I have experienced and read, Lord Maginnis poses a significant threat to that principle.

15 Page and point references relate to the draft Ms Bardell saw, not this final report.

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