Lords inquiry finds Lord Rami Ranger bullied and harassed female journalist

Tory Lord Rami Ranger. — Author 

LONDON: The House of Lords Standards Commissioner has found that Tory Lord Rami Ranger breached the parliamentary Code of Conduct by running a toxic campaign of harassment and bullying against a prominent Indian-origin female journalist.

The 76-year-old Indian-origin peer’s conduct was investigated following a complaint by the London-based Indian journalist Poonam Joshi, who had raised questions about the presence of representatives of a controversial Hindu cult leader at a Diwali event hosted by Lord Ranger and Hindu Forum of Britain at the House of Lords in October 2022.

The cult leader, Nithyananda, is currently sought by authorities in India on multiple charges — including child abduction and rape and is thought to be hiding in Central America.

Joshi’s questioning of Lord Ranger on Twitter led to a torrent of insulting and abusive messages from the peer on Twitter and WhatsApp.

The House of Lords Standards Commissioner, in his final report, has recommended that Lord Ranger issue a public apology to Joshi and take a training course on social media use.

Khan has also recommended Lord Ranger undertake bespoke training and “behaviour change coaching” to “better conduct his life and manners as a parliamentarian”.

Geo News has obtained a copy of the damning House of Lords investigation report, which comes only a few weeks after Lord Rami Ranger was widely criticised, censured by his own party, and forced to issue a public apology for his racist views about British Pakistanis.

The peer had claimed that Pakistanis in Britain “lived ghettos” and also suggested that Pakistani-origin employees at the BBC had been responsible for a documentary about the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his role in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in the early 2000’s.

Poonam Joshi. — Author
Poonam Joshi. — Author

The House of Lords report also found that there was a “clear imbalance of power” between Lord Ranger and Joshi and says that Lord Ranger “abused” that power imbalance by “persistently undermining, humiliating and denigrating Joshi”.

Among Lord Ranger’s vitriolic tweets at Joshi were: “Who is asking you? Who has given you the authority to insult others who do not appease you? You are showing your poor upbringing by bullying”.

In another tweet, Lord Ranger stated: “Use your real name. Shameless Poonam Joshi pride and joy of the Joshi family, no decent job or business, living day to day”.

In a further tweet, including a photograph of Lord Ranger with the former home secretary, the Rt Hon.

Priti Patel MP, said: “I am in Parliament, and you are not. Please tag the entire Parliament. They know me and no one knows you”.”

During questioning by Commissioner Khan, Lord Ranger claimed that this was the “Asian way of speaking” and he claimed that he was not being “disrespectful towards a female reporter”.

The commissioner said: “Lord Ranger’s response to my question asking if such conduct was respectful, in which he referred to Asian culture in his defence, demonstrated precisely the power imbalance that he used to humiliate Ms Joshi.”

“This response seems to suggest that Lord Ranger believes that showing respect and valuing everyone is not universal but is reserved for those who have attained age, experience and social status, among other things, such as himself, and if such ‘respect’ is not accorded then it is entirely appropriate to attack that individual on the basis of their upbringing.”

It was also revealed that as the Twitter spat continued, Lord Ranger formally wrote to the Indian Journalists Association (IJA), of which Joshi is a member, demanding that she be expelled.

When the IJA president refused, Lord Ranger labelled him “spineless” and described Joshi as a “cancer” that needed to be “cut out”.

The report found that relations between Joshi and Lord Ranger were cordial before the controversial Diwali event but broke down after the event as Lord Ranger sent out tweets- tagging her 14 years old son, her employer and colleagues in the media – casting aspersions on her background, status, upbringing, material wealth and her contribution to society, including his allegation that Poonam Joshi’s husband – was a domestic abuser and that Poonam Joshi had reported him for domestic abuse to the police.

The commissioner also states that Lord Ranger repeatedly requested him to reject Joshi’s complaint because of her alleged breach of the confidentiality rules, alleging that Joshi had revealed the complaint and details about the investigation to The Guardian — an allegation that Joshi denies.

When this was rejected, Lord Ranger told the investigation team that his preference was to make another attempt to reach an agreed resolution with Joshi by making a private apology with the condition that no report would be published — a request rejected by Joshi.

Lord Rami Ranger has agreed to issue the following apology to Poonam Joshi: “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 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.”

Joshi said in her statement: “I take no satisfaction in what has happened in the past months but am happy that the House of Lords’ Conduct Commissioner has upheld my complaint against Lord Ranger and found that he bullied and harassed me. I am proud to have had the courage to pursue this matter and am grateful for the Commissioner’s time. I feel this is a just finding condemning what was highly inappropriate behaviour by a peer of the realm. He has apologised to me and agreed to take a behaviour coaching course, as directed by the Commissioner, and I have reciprocated with my own apology. I truly hope that he will learn from this and treat everyone with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Onwards and upwards from here implementing the lessons I have learnt along the way.”

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