• Monday, June 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Asian peer apologises to campaigner over breach of code of conduct

Lord Rami Ranger agrees to remedial action after probe concludes his behaviour amounted ‘bullying and harassment’

Lord Rami Ranger (Image credit: parliament.uk)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

AN ASIAN peer on Tuesday (13) apologised to an Asian campaigner after a probe concluded he breached the parliamentary Code of Conduct relating to “bullying and harassment”.

Conservative peer and founder of UK-based FMCG firm Sun Mark Ltd, Lord Rami Ranger, faced a Code of Conduct investigation by the Commissioner for Standards for the House of Lords following a Diwali-related event within the Houses of Parliament complex in London in October last year.

The complaint accused the peer of shouting and writing derogatory tweets directed at London-based campaigner Poonam Joshi.

“Regarding the possible breach of the rules relating to bullying and harassment, following my consideration of all the evidence, I concluded that Lord Ranger’s behaviour did meet the criteria for bullying and harassment and therefore breached the Code of Conduct,” said the report by Akbar Khan, Commissioner for Standards for the House of Lords.

“In the light of the findings, I recommended that Lord Ranger apologise to Ms Poonam Joshi about his conduct and undertake bespoke training and behaviour change coaching. Lord Ranger agreed to the remedial action and has issued a written apology to Ms Joshi. Ms Joshi also chose to issue a written apology to Lord Ranger regarding her actions,” he said.

Joshi, founder of Indian Ladies UK (ILUK) women’s organisation, told the inquiry that Ranger’s behaviour had a significant impact on her and her family, as well as on her professional life and livelihood.

“In this report, the Commissioner has found my behaviour fell short of the high standards I expect of myself, and which others expect of me as a sitting member of the House of Lords. I have expressed my remorse and I apologise to Ms Joshi,” the peer’s said in the apology, included as an appendix with the commissioner’s report.

“The investigation process and reading and reflecting on the report has had a profound and lasting effect on me. I will continue to self-reflect and learn from this experience,” he said.

In response, Joshi said she was grateful for the apology, adding that the commissioner’s report has given her the opportunity to “reflect on my own actions, which have not met the standards I have set for myself. I am remorseful and accept that I bear a share of the responsibility for the circumstances which have arisen, and I apologise to Lord Ranger”.

The duo had been locked in a war of words, much of it playing out on social media, since October 2022. Khan’s investigation was also provided with information related to the attendance of a representative of controversial self-styled guru, Nithyananda, at a Diwali event hosted by the peer in the Lords.

However, he concluded that Joshi’s complaint of a possible breach of the parliamentary rules on the use of its facilities had not breached the Code of Conduct.

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