Kemi Badenoch: Conservative Party has ‘drawn a line’ under donor race row

Kemi Badenoch has insisted that the Conservative Party has “drawn a line” under the Frank Hester racism row.

The Conservative donor was criticised for alleged comments he made about former Labour MP Diane Abbott, including that she should be “shot”.

Hester and his company have given £10 million to the party since the 2019 election, with reports of another alleged £5 million donation.

Last week, prime minister Rishi Sunak took a whole day to call out Hester’s remarks, first reported in The Guardian — eventually saying they were “racist and wrong”.

It came four hours after Badenoch labelled the comments as “racist” in a post on X/Twitter.

The business and trade secretary’s remarks this morning come at the start of another tough week for the prime minister, as rumours swirl of another backbench plot to oust him as Conservative leader

Week-in-Review: Rishi Sunak’s authority is shot

There have been claims that some MPs are considering replacing Sunak with House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

The prime minister will attempt to calm nerves and shore up his position in the parliamentary party when he addresses the 1922 committee of backbench MPs on Wednesday.

Asked this morning why she was the first cabinet minister to condemn Hester’s remarks as racist Badenoch told Sky News: “I think certainly as the minister for equalities… there was a role that I needed to play there, that’s partly my job.

“It was about black women — I’m the only black woman in the cabinet — it was about a politician, albeit one in a different party.

“But it was also specifically about somebody who donated money to my party.”

However, she points out that this was something said “a long time ago”.

“The individual in question has apologised and we’ve drawn a line under it”, she added. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.

Minister bemoans ‘zero tolerance is just a slogan’ amid Conservative donor race row