Tory Minister Admits Party Could Accept More Cash From Tory Donor In Diane Abbott Race Row

Transport secretary Mark Harper was asked if he was "embarrassed" about taking donations from Frank Hester.

A Tory minister has refused to rule out taking millions of pounds more from the donor embroiled in a race row over comments he allegedly made about Diane Abbott.

Frank Hester has not denied saying the MP made him “want to hate all black women” and “should be shot”.

The health tech executive donated £10 million to the Conservatives last year and has reportedly given another £5m so far in 2024.

Labour and the Lib Dems have called on the Tories to return the cash.

But on Sky News this morning, transport secretary Mark Harper repeatedly dodged the question when asked to confirm the Tories have taken more of Hester’s money.

And he also raised the possibility of the party accepting more donations from him, despite Rishi Sunak admitting his comments about Abbott were “racist and wrong”.

Sky presenter Trevor Phillips asked Harper: “Can you confirm the party’s received another £5 million from him and if so, when?”

The minister replied: “No. Any donations that we receive from anybody are declared in the usual way and that’s why you know that Mr Hester made those donations in the past and if there are any donations in the future, and that’s hypothetical, the party will declare them in the usual way.”

Phillips then asked: “There must be an answer to this. They must have told you, or at they just hiding it from you whether or not they’ve got another £5 million, as is being widely reported?”

Harper said: “We’ve declared in the proper way any donations that we’ve received, and if in the future there are any donations, those donations will be declared in the usual way.”

Trying again, the increasingly-frustrated presenter said: “You’re a man of principle, if there are future donations, as a matter of principle, would you be comfortable to receive them?”

Harper again side-stepped the question by saying: “You’re asking me about hypothetical things that might or might not happen in the future.

“We have a proper process for donations and about assessing whether we should accept them and if we accept them we then publish the results and declare them as we’re required to do in an open and transparent way.”

Phillips then asked Harper if he would be “embarrassed if the process ended up with another £5m in the Conservative Party’s locker”.

But Harper replied: “What you’re really doing is you’re asking me the question in a different way. You’re asking me about hypothetical things that might or might not happen in the future.”


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