Scottish Tories urge UK party to 'review' £10m from race row donor

Conservatives north of the border labels alleged remarks from the millionaire businessman 'racist and wrong'.

Scottish Tories urge UK party to ‘review’ £10m from donor who allegedly said Diane Abbott should be ‘shot’ Getty Images

The Scottish Tories have urged the UK party to “review” all donations from its biggest donor after he allegedly said a black MP should be “shot”.

Frank Hester, who has gifted £10m to the Conservatives, is alleged to have said Diane Abbott makes him “want to hate all black women”.

Rishi Sunak has admitted the alleged comments were racist but has refused to return the cash.

One Tory minister said the party would continue to take money from Hester, the chief executive of healthcare software firm The Phoenix Partnership (TPP).

Rishi Sunak said Frank Hester had shown 'remorse' for his alleged words.Getty Images

The Scottish Tories have broken ranks to call for the money to be “reviewed”.

“These comments were racist and wrong,” a spokesperson for the party said.

“The Scottish Conservative Party has never accepted a donation from Frank Hester and the UK Conservative Party should carefully review the donations it has received from Hester in response to his remarks.”

It’s the second time Conservatives north of the border have rebelled against the UK party, with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross saying last week he would vote against the chancellor’s plans for a windfall tax extension in the north east.

Hester has admitted that he was “rude” about Abbott – a former Labour MP who now sits as an independent – in a “private meeting several years ago but his criticism had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin”.

Scottish Labour said it has written to Ross to ensure that no donations from Hester have been spent in Scotland.

As well as donations to the Conservative Party, Hester gifted Sunak use of a helicopter for a political visit in November, valued at around £15,000.

The Prime Minister was asked if he would return the helicopter donation.

He replied: “No, and I am pleased that the gentleman is supporting a party that represents one of the most diverse governments in this country’s history, led by this country’s first British Asian prime minister.”

The Prime Minister said the businessman had “rightly apologised” and had shown “remorse” for the remarks.

“This is complete rubbish,” SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said during PMQs.

“The gentleman in question apologised for being rude, he wasn’t rude: he was racist, he was odious, and he was downright bloody dangerous.

“Now on Monday, No 10 said we’ve seen an unacceptable rise in extremist activity which is seeking to divide our society and hijack our democratic institutions.

“Isn’t the extremism that we should all be worried about the views of those Tory donors that we’ve read about this week?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replied: “There has actually been a rise in extremist activity that is seeking to hijack our democratic institutions.

“It is important that we have the tools to tackle this threat, that’s what the extremism strategy will do.”

Flynn accused Sunak of putting “money before morals”.

What did Frank Hester allegedly say about Diane Abbott?

According to The Guardian, Hester said in 2019: “It’s like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you’re just like I hate, you just want to hate all black women because she’s there, and I don’t hate all black women at all, but I think she should be shot.”

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