UK police investigate Conservative donor’s alleged comments about Black lawmaker

By Thomson Reuters Mar 22, 2024 | 8:10 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – 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 pounds ($12.58 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.

London’s Metropolitan Police was initially contacted over the alleged remark and the investigation was later passed on to West Yorkshire Police because the meeting took place in a town in Yorkshire, northern England.

“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.

($1 = 0.7947 pounds)

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman; Editing by Susan Fenton)