Police are investigating alleged racist remarks made by one of the Conservative Party’s principal donors concerning former Labour MP Diane Abbott. The comments, initially disclosed by the Guardian, purportedly occurred during a company meeting in 2019, where businessman Frank Hester remarked that Ms. Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and suggested that she “should be shot”. Mr Hester subsequently expressed profound regret for his “rude” comments but maintained that they were unrelated to her gender or skin colour.

The incident sparked a significant controversy in Westminster, with opposition MPs urging the Conservatives to return the £10 million donated by Hester and his company, The Phoenix Partnership, since 2019. There were reports suggesting an additional £5 million had also been contributed to Tory funds. Despite acknowledging the racist nature of the comments, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opted to retain the funds, asserting that Hester had apologised, and that it was time for everyone to “move on.”.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed earlier this month that they were evaluating the alleged remarks after being contacted by officers from the parliamentary liaison and investigation team. However, the case has now been transferred to West Yorkshire Police, as the comments were purportedly made during a meeting in Horsforth, near Leeds.

A spokesperson for the force stated: “Our officers have been diligently working to ascertain the facts and determine whether a criminal offence has occurred. We acknowledge the strong response to these allegations and are grateful to all those who have reached out to us since the article was published.” They further appealed for individuals who might assist in the investigation to come forward, dubbing the operation “Brassminster.”.

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