Ken Maginnis, Baron Maginnis of Drumglass

Ken Maginnis, Baron Maginnis of Drumglass

Kenneth Wiggins Maginnis, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass (born January 21, 1938) is a Northern Irish Ulster Unionist politician who sits in the House of Lords.


Maginnis was educated at the Royal School Dungannon, Dungannon, and Stranmillis College in Belfast, he worked as a teacher for a number of years before joining the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1971. After leaving the Army with the rank of Major in 1981, he became Ulster Unionist spokesman on internal security and defence, and was that same year elected to Dungannon District Council, on which he sat for twelve years until he lost his seat in 1993 when he was eliminated by less than 1 vote (0.74 votes).

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 same constituency. At the 1983 general election he was returned to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament, again for the same constituency. 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.

Good Friday Agreement

He was a strong supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, and stood down as an MP at the 2001 General Election, being created a life peer as Baron Maginnis of Drumglass, of Carnteel in the County of Tyrone that same year.

He renewed his membership of Dungannon and South Tyrone District 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.

He currently sits as a Cross-bencher in the House of Lords. Maginnis 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).

ee also

* List of Northern Ireland Members of the House of Lords

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