Police probing Tory donor’s alleged comments about Abbott

The investigation was shifted from London Metropolitan Police to West Yorkshire Police because Frank Hester had made the alleged racist remarks in a town in Yorkshire

A file photo of a protest outside of Hackney Town Hall in solidarity with MP Dianne Abbott on March 15, 2024 in London. (Photo by Alishia Abodunde/Getty Images)

Shajil Kumar

British police said on Friday they were investigating possibly racist comments allegedly made by the biggest donor to the ruling Conservative party at a meeting in 2019.

The Guardian newspaper reported on March 11 that businessman Frank Hester – who gave £10 million to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party in the past year – told colleagues that looking at lawmaker Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all Black women”.

Abbott is the longest-serving Black lawmaker and an opposition member of parliament in Britain’s House of Commons.

Hester, in a statement on March 11 in response to the Guardian report, said his comments in 2019 about Abbott were rude but had nothing to do with her gender nor her skin colour.

Abbott reported the comments to the London Metropolitan Police on March 11.

The investigation was later passed on to West Yorkshire Police because the meeting took place in a town in Yorkshire.

“Our officers have since been working to establish the facts and to ultimately ascertain whether a crime has been committed,” West Yorkshire Police said in a statement.

Asked on Friday about the investigation, Sunak said it “wouldn’t be right to comment” on police matters.

“As I have said previously, what he (Hester) said was wrong and racist and he rightly has apologised for it,” the prime minister told broadcasters.

Abbott had described Hester’s comments as “frightening” and “alarming” given the murders of lawmakers Jo Cox and David Amess in recent years.

She was elected to the parliament in 1987 and remained a Labour lawmaker.

However, last year the Labour party suspended Abbott for saying Jewish people were not subject to racism “all their lives”. (Agencies)