Ken Maginnis

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The Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
Member of Parliament
for Fermanagh and South Tyrone
In office
9 June 1983 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Owen Carron
Succeeded by Michelle Gildernew
Personal details
Born (1938-01-21) 21 January 1938 (age 81)
Dungannon, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Independent Ulster Unionist
Other political
Ulster Unionist Party (until 2012)
Alma mater Royal School Dungannon

Major Kenneth Wiggins Maginnis, Baron Maginnis of Drumglass (born 21 January 1938), is a Northern Irish politician who sits as a Life Peer in the House of Lords, formerly for the Ulster Unionist Party. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1983 to 2001.


Maginnis was educated at The Royal School in Dungannon and at Stranmillis College in Stranmillis in Belfast. He worked as a teacher for a number of years before joining the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) in 1971. After leaving the British Army with the rank of major in 1981, he became the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) spokesman on internal security and defence, and was that same year elected to Dungannon District Council, on which he sat for twelve years until losing his seat in 1993.

April 1981 by-election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Maginnis was the Ulster Unionist candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in the second by-election in 1981, coming second. This by-election came about with the death of Bobby Sands on hunger strike. As a result of changes to the electoral law with the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1981, another hunger striker could not be nominated. Instead Owen Carron, who had served as Sands' election agent in the earlier election, was nominated and elected as a "Anti-H-Block Proxy Political Prisoner".

Member of Parliament

The following year, he was elected to the failed Northern Ireland Assembly, as a representative for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency. At the 1983 general election he was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the constituency of the same name. Two years later, along with the rest of his Unionist colleagues, he resigned his seat in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, but was re-elected in the subsequent by-election. He continued his protest by refusing to pay his car tax, for which he was sentenced to seven days' imprisonment in 1987.


He renewed his membership of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council in 2001 when he was elected for Dungannon Town. However, in 2005 he chose to move to the neighbouring Clogher Valley electoral area in an attempt to boost the UUP vote. This strategy backfired and he again lost his seat.

House of Lords

He stood down as an MP at the 2001 General Election, and on 20 July of that year was created a Life Peer taking the title Baron Maginnis of Drumglass, of Carnteel in the County of Tyrone,[1] and took his seat in the House of Lords, sitting initially with the UUP.

Political views

Lord Maginnis was perceived to be on the more social liberal wing of the UUP along with Lady Hermon. He is one of only three MPs in the Ulster Unionist Party's history not to have been a member of the Orange Order (the other two being Enoch Powell and Lady Hermon), although he was a member of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.[2]

Maginnis has courted controversy by equating homosexuality with bestiality in an interview on BBC Northern Ireland's Stephen Nolan show in June 2012. Lord Maginnis said he was opposed to gay marriage because it was "unnatural" and he did not believe society should "have imposed on it something that is unnatural". He enquired: "Does that mean that every deviant practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?" The comments prompted Ulster Unionist Party leader, Mike Nesbitt to state that his views were expressed in a personal capacity and did not reflect party policy. Maginnis's remarks were also condemned by Gay Rights groups.[3]

In June 2012, the UUP Whip was withdrawn from Lord Maginnis by party leader Mike Nesbitt over his anti-gay remarks. Maginnis subsequently resigned from the UUP on 28 August 2012.[4]

Personal life

In August 2013, Lord Maginnis was found guilty of an "angry and abusive tirade" following a road rage incident, and was fined.[5]

See also


  1. The London Gazette: no. 56285. p. 8777. 25 July 2001.
  2. Dudley Edwards R, The Faithful Tribe, (London, 1999) page 3
  3. "Party distances itself from Maginnis gay marriage remarks"BBC News 13 June 2012 Retrieved 14 June 2012
  4. Maginnis quits UUP, tells Nesbitt to resign, The Newsletter, 28 August 2012
  5. "Lord Maginnis guilty of road rage". BBC News. 19 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Owen Carron
Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone
Succeeded by
Michelle Gildernew
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Allen
Honorary Treasurer of the Ulster Unionist Party
2005 - 2008
Succeeded by
Cllr Mark Cosgrove