A SENIOR Conservative peer, who has given more than a million pounds to the Tories, has accused its treasurer of “disgracing” his office.
In a letter to Malik Karim, seen by Eastern Eye, Lord Rami Ranger said that the party’s first south Asian treasurer had been “rude” towards him and had “shouted” at him.
The peer said Karim was endangering “social cohesion in Britain”.
“The scene you were creating was in front of your wife,” wrote Lord Ranger. “You were either unprofessional or wanted to impress your wife regarding how you treated a British peer.
“Let me tell you for your [own] good.
“You have disgraced the party from the position from where one has to show kind, consideration and appear to be empathetic in order to attract people to the party. You on the other hand projecting a[n] unfriendly picture.”
The row, witnessed by guests, took place during the Global Unity Dinner and Dance at the Dorchester Hotel organised by the chief executive of investment and real estate management company, Regent Group, Dr Selva Pankaj earlier this month (14).
Karim is the first person of colour to serve as treasurer of the Conservative party. He is a successful business leader and the founder and chief executive of Fenchurch Advisory, one of the country’s leading firms offering M&A advice to the financial services industry.
Lord Ranger, who has been a party member for 35 years, told Malik that the treasurer was splitting south Asian communities. “I approach you in a very friendly manner as usual and mentioned that the party should not encourage Friends of Tamils, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims, as these are not countries.
“You very rudely replied this wasn’t a big deal. I again suggested that as a party we should not divide communities and instead unite them. Again, you, with utmost arrogance, replied that I could form as many associations as I wanted.
“I replied that you were not looking at the bigger picture of improving social cohesion in Britain. Again, you shouted at me that it was me who could not see the bigger picture.”
A Westminster insider told Eastern Eye that the incident had “upset and disappointed” Lord Ranger. “Rami joined the party when it wasn’t fashionable to do so,” said the source. “You have to remember that when everyone was joining Tony Blair’s New Labour project, Rami saw merit in the Tories and stuck with them, despite their awful record on race.
“He’s been instrumental in changing the party from the inside, persuading other business leaders to back the Conservatives. Now, this newly appointed guy spoke to him in a way which showed huge disrespect.”
The source said that Karim can come across as “arrogant and full of himself”.
Lord Ranger founded Sun Mark in 1995, one of the country’s leading exporters of major food and drink brands. The company has a presence in 130 countries and offices in London, Dubai, Djibouti & Nigeria.
The peer was ennobled in 2019, taking the title Baron of Mayfair.
Lord Ranger sold his business last year to allow him to concentrate on his philanthropic and parliamentary activities. His family were valued at £210 million in Eastern Eye’s Asian Rich List 2021.
Sources have told this newspaper that Lord Ranger has worked tirelessly to promote community cohesion.
The peer has previously told Eastern Eye that it was time for a south Asian prime minister, and that the party was finally getting rid of its chequered past.
But this row will not help its reputation or gain new donors, according to the letter. “You lack common sense and judgement to realise that you must always show respect to those who are older, have more experience and are highly accomplished than you,” wrote Lord Ranger to Karim.
“I doubt if you will ever be able to achieve much for the party with your unfriendly approach.
“You have just join[ed] the party and have no idea the work and sacrifices people like me have made to make places for people like you in the party.
“When we started our journey, there was no Indian member of parliament in the Conservative party. “You will appreciate that in politics, no one promotes others except themselves.”
“In my 35 year[s] with the party I have never come across someone as rude as you. You have insulted your upbringing too.
Sources have told Eastern Eye that the party machinery is keen to play down the rift. “No one wants to draw attention to a potentially embarrassing bust up while the party’s choosing it new leader and the next prime minister,” they said.
Eastern Eye approached Karim for a comment but he did not want to respond as he considers the matter closed.