Rishi Sunak refuses to reimburse £15k helicopter ride donation from Frank Hester

During PMQs the PM shamelessly said the Tory donors’ "remorse should be accepted"

Rishi Sunak at PMQs asked about Frank Hester

Rishi Sunak said he would not reimburse a £15k donation from Frank Hester for the use of his helicopter in November. 

Labour MP Marsha de Cordova asked the Prime Minister during PMQs whether he would return this specific personal donation from the Tory donor alleged to have made numerous racist remarks, to which Rishi Sunak said ‘no’.

After being grilled for most of PMQs about the Tory racism row, Sunak said the public should now accept Frank Hester’s apology for the racist remarks he made towards Diane Abbott, which included saying looking at her makes “you want to hate all Black women”.

Addressing the Prime Minister, Marsha de Cordova said it was “shameful” that it took the Prime Minister over 24 hours to call Hester’s remarks racist and referred to Sunak’s recent address outside Downing Street where he had promised to root out hate and extremism. 

She went on to ask whether the Prime Minister would reimburse Frank Hester who had given Sunak £15,000 last winter for a helicopter trip.

To which Sunak replied: “No Mr Speaker. And I’m 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.”

Cordova shook her head in response, she wrote on X about Hester’s comments, “as a Black female MP, I was shocked and horrified at the disgusting remarks.”

During PMQs Sunak reiterated that the comments were “wrong and racist” however went on to say that Hester had “rightly” apologised and “that remorse should be accepted”, showing a shameless defense towards the Tory donor. 

Responding to the helicopter money, Labour MP Emily Thornberry said on X: “Whether it’s the luxury helicopters Rishi Sunak uses to travel round Britain, or his self-promoting adverts on Facebook, the Prime Minister is directly benefiting from Frank Hester’s money and he must personally decide whether it’s right to keep it.”

Starmer said the Tory party was being bankrolled by a ‘racist’ and has demanded that the £10m be handed back.

Earlier today a Tory minister said the party would in fact accept another £10m from the Tory donor, despite his abhorrent remarks. 

Nearly 50,000 have signed a petition already calling for Frank Hester to be stripped of his OBE, given to him by David Cameron.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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