Tory minister says party would take another £10 million from Frank Hester if offered

'His comments show how weak and how desperate the Tory Party have become'

Tory Minister Kevin Hollinrake comments Frank Hester

Minister Kevin Hollinrake said the Tory Party would take another £10 million from Tory donor Frank Hester despite his racist remarks towards Diane Abbott. 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, the postal affairs minister and MP for Thirsk and Malton left many speechless after he said the party should in fact accept more money from the donor, who has given the Tories £10 million in the past year.  

As well as saying the party should actually accept more money from him, Hollinrake said he did not believe Hester was a racist because he had ‘apologised’, despite Hester saying Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all black women”.

He said the party would accept another £10m, “on the basis that we don’t believe Mr Hester’s a racist.”

Hollinrake went on to tell LBC: “If you say racist things and don’t apologise for them that would make you a racist, but I think if you say something racist and then apologise, that’s a different thing.”

Frank Hester’s comments towards Diane Abbott were described by the Runnymede Trust as “abhorrent” and “nothing short of stoking hatred and violence against Black women”.

Abbott has since reported Hester to the police regarding his comment that the MP “should be shot”. She expressed her fear after the remarks were made saying, “the fact that two MPs have been murdered in recent years makes talk like this all the more alarming.”

It took Rishi Sunak a full day to backtrack on Downing Street’s initial statement and call the remarks ‘racist and wrong’, as Tory ministers and peers spent Tuesday continuing to defend the Tory Party’s biggest donor. 

The shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said Hollinrake’s comments showed “how weak and how desperate the Tory Party have become”. 

Calls for the money to be returned or donated to an anti-racism organisation have been growing amid the Tory racism row. A Tory mayor said today the party should return Frank Hester’s donation, while the government’s independent adviser on antisemitism has also urged the party to “cut ties” with the donor.

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

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