Scottish Tories to seek clarification on reports of further Hester donation

The deputy leader of the Scottish Tories has said she will seek clarification on reports of a further donation to the UK party from Frank Hester.

Mr Hester has been under fire this week after alleged comments emerged appearing to show him insulting MP Diane Abbott, saying she “should be shot” and that she makes him “want to hate all black women”.

The alleged comments drew widespread criticism, with the Prime Minister describing them as “racist”, while opposition parties urged the Tories to hand back the donations.

Frank Hester
Frank Hester (CHOGM Rwanda 2022/YouTube/PA)

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Friday, Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said she could not comment on the “unverified” donation, but that she would seek clarification from the UK Conservative Party on the reports.

“I’ve certainly not had the time from when I first read the story, which was late last evening, to this morning appearing on your programme,” she said.

“Certainly that can be something that we’ll look at.”

Asked if she would seek clarification on Friday, the deputy leader said: “Of course I will have a discussion about this, but again, it’s unverified and I can’t comment on unverified donations.”

When approached, the UK party did not deny the fresh donation, saying only that declarable donations will be published by the Electoral Commission “in the usual way”, with the next update due in June.

The Scottish Tories have also called for a “review” into the donations from Mr Hester, with Ms Gallacher looking to find out “what the party knew and how we can actually move forward”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt insisted the Tories are “absolutely transparent” despite refusing to be drawn on whether or not the party had accepted a further donation.

He told reporters on Friday: “We follow all the right procedures when it comes to declaring our donations, and when the time is right we will declare any donations we have received recently.”

He added: “We absolutely are transparent. We follow all the rules, the regulations, we believe in that transparency.

“Many of the laws about it we actually passed ourselves and the Conservative Party fully complies with all the requirements to be transparent about our donations.”

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