Labour peer Lord Pendry faces suspension for bullying security guard

A Labour peer is facing suspension after a conduct committee ruling that he bullied a security guard.

Lord Pendry, a former Treasury minister who was a Labour MP for more than three decades, was found by an investigation to have been “verbally aggressive” to a member of staff in the parliamentary security department.

The 87-year-old peer displayed “intimidating behaviour” to the security guard who was left “physically shaken and unnerved”, according to a report by the House of Lords Conduct Committee.

Lord Pendry, who submitted a lengthy appeal to the committee, denied grabbing the security guard’s radio but admitted that had “confronted” the security guard after becoming upset at the treatment of his guest.

The guard, who had previously served in the Army, described how he was left feeling “angry and stressed” after the peer challenged them and allegedly grabbed his radio during “a little bit of a tussle”.

The security guard, who is referred to in report as “EF”, approached one of the peer’s guests on July 6 last year as they were walking unattended near the Lords chamber, having gone to use the toilet. Guests are meant to be accompanied at all times by their host while on the parliamentary estate.

The guard said he spoke to the guest in a “polite manner” and escorted them to a toilet before escorting them back to his host who was sitting with the student’s mother having tea and biscuits in the Peers Bar.

But Lord Pendry said the guest, a university student, was upset and “visibly shaken” after being “frog marched” from the toilets by the guard.

“A short time later, EF alleged that Lord Pendry confronted them while they were on duty near the House of Lords Chamber,” the report said.

‘Grabbed their radio’

“They alleged that Lord Pendry grabbed their radio to try to see their name badge and demanded to know their name because he was upset with the way his guest had been treated.”

The peer acknowledged the guard was “clearly shaken by my having castigated” him, but denied touching the guard’s radio after demanding their name, describing the charge as “absolute nonsense”. This however was confirmed by a doorkeeper said to have witnessed part of the incident.

The security guard submitted a complaint about Lord Pendry’s conduct last August which was investigated by Akbar Khan, a House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.

The House of Lords Conduct Committee ruled that “on consideration of all the evidence,” Lord Pendry’s “behaviour met the criteria for bullying and was a breach of the Code of Conduct”.

It recommended that he be suspended for one week. The report and sanction will be voted on by Lords when they return after Easter recess.

Lord Pendry, who was a Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde in Greater Manchester from 1970 to 2001, urged colleagues to read the whole report before voting on whether to approve the suspension from the House.

He said: “Quite frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I believe that my colleagues who are very fair-minded will look at the whole report and may well see there’s another side to it.”

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