Lord Maginnis, who now denies calling MP ‘queer’, says he can’t be homophobic because of friends in ‘LGBT brigade’

Lord Maginnis has been suspended from the House of Lords

Lord Ken Maginnis, who was reported to police for a homophobic hate crime by SNP MP Hannah Bardell, is now denying that he ever called her a “queer”.

Bardell, who is in a relationship with a woman, accused the member of the House of Lords of “abusive behaviour” towards security on Wednesday, January 8, and said it was “one of the worst cases of abuse of security staff” she had seen during her time as an MP.

Maginnis, who has previously compared being gay to bestiality, responded to the accusation by telling HuffPost UK: “She and I are known to be on other sides – I am opposed to abortion, I am opposed to gay people like her seeking to change marriage… Queers like Ms Bardell don’t particularly annoy me. OK, she’s got her cheap publicity out of it.”

Bardell, who described the comments as “homophobic bile”, said the next day that she had reported Lord Maginnis to the police for a homophobic hate crime.

But now, in an interview with BBC Scotland, the life peer has denied that he ever made the “homophobic” comments.

Asked if he would like to apologise to Bardell, he said: “I didn’t [call her ‘queer’] and it’s not a word that I use… I’m apologising for nothing that I didn’t say, and I didn’t say anything which reflected in any way on… um… the lady whose name I forget.

“The reality is that I am quite angry that this Scots lass would try to make political capital out of this 82-year-old.”

Maginnis, who said in 2012 that he believed gays engaged in “deviant sexual practices”, continued: “I at no time made homophobic comments about anybody.

“I know a lot of people who would be part of the LGBT brigade, I get on very well with them. Most of them are respectful.”

But now, journalist Arj Singh who wrote the original article for HuffPost UK has released audio of the interview.

He wrote on Twitter: “Here is Lord Ken Maginnis calling Hannah Bardell ‘queer’ on Wednesday, after she raised his ‘abuse’ of parliamentary security staff.

“Today, he has been trying to deny that he said this. Well he did, as you can hear.”

Bardell told BBC Scotland: “I hope first that Lord Maginnis will reflect on his behaviour, and [then] do us all a favour and leave the House of Lords. I don’t think someone like him has any place as a legislator.”

Police confirmed to the BBC that they are looking into the allegation of a hate crime at the House of Commons.