Minister Says Tories Would Take Another £10 Million From Frank Hester Despite Diane Abbott Row

The prime minister has said the donor's remarks about the veteran MP were "racist".

A Tory minister has said the party would take another £10 million from Frank Hester, despite Rishi Sunak saying his alleged comments about Diane Abbott were “racist”.

Kevin Hollinrake made the surprise admission as he was grilled on the BBC over the row which has engulfed the Conservatives.

The Guardian reported on Monday that Hester said in 2019 that Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and that she “should be shot”.

That led to calls for the Tories to hand back the £10 million he gave to the party last year.

After a day of prevarication, a Downing Street spokesperson finally said last night that the prime minister thought Hester’s comments were “racist and wrong”.

On BBC Breakfast this morning, Hollinrake, who is the post office minister, said he also believed that Hester’s comments were racist.

Presenter John Kay asked him whether, in that case, he believed the party should give the £10m he donated back to him.

The minister replied: “No, I don’t agree with that. If Mr Hester was a racist, if he refused to apologise for what he said, that would be different.”

Kay then said: “If Mr Hester said I’d like to give you another £10m, would you take it?”

Hollinrake replied: “On the basis that we don’t believe Mr Hester is a racist, yes.”

The stunned presenter then said: “So let’s just be absolutely clear. Yesterday, the prime minister said that this man’s alleged comments were racist and wrong, and you say that if this same man wanted to give another £10m to the Conservative Party, you’d take the money?”

The minister said: “Yes, that’s how I understand the situation.”


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