Sadiq Khan calls on Tories to return donor’s money after ‘racist and misogynistic’ attack on Diane Abbott

Sadiq Khan has urged the Tories to return money donated by Frank Hester (PA Wire)
Sadiq Khan has urged the Tories to return money donated by Frank Hester (PA Wire)

Sadiq Khan has demanded that the Conservative Party return money from a donor who allegeld ysaid that former Labour MP Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and that she “should be shot”.

Healthcare entrepreneur Frank Hester was condemned on Tuesday for allegedly making “racist and misogynistic” comments about the ex-shadow Home Secretary during a company meeting in 2019.

Downing Street released a statement on Tuesday evening calling the alleged comments “racist and wrong”.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch on Tuesday became the first Cabinet minister to call Mr Hester’s alleged words racist, saying the “idea of linking criticism of Diane Abbott to being a black woman is appalling”.

Reacting to Mr Hester’s alleged remarks, the Mayor of London said: “It beggars belief. Here we have another example of a senior Conservative, a Conservative donor, making comments that are clearly racist and misogynistic.

“What Rishi Sunak needs to do is grow a backbone.”

He went on: “Mr Hester should apologise to Diane Abbott. And what the Government should do is return the money he has donated to them. The comments that Hester made about Diane Abbott were clearly misogynistic and racist.

“Some Conservatives have said they are inappropriate, but why? Because they are racist and misogynistic.”

Mr Khan accused the Prime Minister of failing to call out “anti-Muslim” comments made about him by former deputy party chair Lee Anderson, who had claimed that the Mayor of London was controlled by Islamists.

He said: “The British public deserve better, they want their leaders to be bringing communities together… they want people to be encouraged to become a councillor or an MP. These sorts of comments make it harder not easier.”

The Guardian reported that Mr Hester told a company meeting in 2019: “It’s like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you’re just like … you just want to hate all black women because she’s there.

“And I don’t hate all black women at all, but I think she should be shot.”

In a statement released via his firm, Mr Hester said he had rung Ms Abbott on Monday to “apologise directly for the hurt he has caused her”.

“Frank Hester accepts that he was rude about Diane Abbot (sic) in a private meeting several years ago but his criticism had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin,” the statement said.