Tory Peer Claims Party Donor Cannot Be Racist As ‘He Does A Lot Of Business In Jamaica’ – news today


A Conservative peer just claimed the Tory Party’s largest donor cannot be racist because “he does a lot of work in Jamaica”.

Frank Hester – who gave the Conservatives £10m last year – allegedly said backbencher Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and that she “should be shot”, according to The Guardian.

But speaking to LBC on Tuesday, Tory peer Lord Marland defended his friend Hester – and pointed to the donor’s international business ties as proof he is not racist.

Marland said: “I know Frank Hester and he is not a racist.”

He continued: “He’s an international businessman, he’s travelled widely overseas.

“He does a lot of business in Jamaica, he does business in Malaysia, Bangladesh and places like that, so he’s not a racist.

“He made some unfortunate remarks that do sound racist, and quite rightly he has apologised for them.”

Hester allegedly made the remarks at a meeting for his health tech firm TPP in 2019, while talking about a female executive at another company.

Abbott was the first Black woman ever elected into the Commons and the longest-serving Black MP.

Originally elected as a Labour MP, she has sat as an independent since April 2023.

In a statement posted on Hester’s X (formerly Twitter) account, his team wrote: “Frank Hester accepts that he was rude about Diane [Abbott] in a private meeting several years ago but his criticism had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin.

“The Guardian is right when it quotes Frank saying he abhors racism, not least because he experienced it as the child of Irish immigrants in the 1970s.

“He rang Diane Abbott twice today to try to apologise directly for the hurt he has caused her and is deeply sorry for his remarks. He wishes to make it clear that he regards racism as a poison which has no place in public life.”

No.10 has not called Hester’s remarks racist.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “What is alleged and reported to have been said would clearly have been unacceptable, but we are not going to characterise further alleged comments from source reporting.”

Energy minister Graham Stuart told Sky News this morning: “They were clearly reprehensible, he has apologised profusely and rightly and tried to reach out to Diane Abbott specifically to apologise to her.

“It was half a decade ago, clearly those comments were wrong and he is right to apologise and I support him doing so.”

Pressed over whether the Conservatives should return the donations, he said: “It’s not my decision, but I do welcome those who support the Conservative Party to ensure that we have Rishi Sunak – our first Hindu prime minister.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s Keir Starmer told ITV’s Lorraine on Tuesday that the comments were “abhorrent” and urged the Conservatives to return Hester’s money.


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