'Is That An Extremist View?' Naga Munchetty Clashes With Michael Gove Over Tory Donor's Diane Abbott Attack

Frank Hester said the veteran MP "should be shot".

Naga Munchetty clashed with Michael Gove over a major Tory donor who said Diane Abbott “should be shot”.

The BBC Breakfast presenter asked the cabinet minister whether Frank Hester had expressed “an extremist view” with his remarks.

The clash came as Gove published the government’s new definition of “extremism”, which it described as “the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance”.

Earlier this week The Guardian reported how Hester - who gave the Conservatives £10 million last year - had said Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and that “she should be shot”.

On BBC Breakfast this morning, Munchetty asked Gove: “Please tell me, when Frank Hester allegedly said - and I want to get this quote right - ‘I don’t hate all black women at all but I think she should be shot’, is that an extremist view?”

Gove replied: “Well, speaking as someone who was pursued by an individual who was trying to kill me and who subsequently succeeded in killing one of my friends in parliament, I take that sort of language very seriously and I think it’s unacceptable.”

That was a reference to Ali Harbi Ali, who murdered Tory MP David Amess in 2021. His trial heard how he carried out reconnaissance on other potential targets, including Gove.

But Munchetty replied: “I’m sorry, that’s not quite what I asked. Was that an extremist view and would it fall under these new definitions of extremism? I can repeat the quote with you if you wish.”

The minister said: “I take these things exceptionally seriously, and because I take them seriously it would be the case that any assessment about whether or not an individual or organisation is extremist would have to follow a rigorous process.

“It wouldn’t be me making a decision on the basis of a quote, however horrific, it would be a due diligence process that would be conducted very carefully.”

Munchetty then hit back: “It would be down to the government of the time, which you are part of.”

Gove said: “It would be down to an appropriate process that would follow independent advice looking at the evidence.

“But I take the use of these threats very seriously, knowing all too well the dangers that some people in public life have had to face.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Gove also admitted he did not know whether the Tories have already spent the money they received from Hester.

Rishi Sunak was condemned yesterday after he said the party would not hand the money back.


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