Tory DWP boss defends donor’s ‘shoot Abbott’ comment

  • Post last modified:March 12, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

A private healthcare CEO, who has made millions off public healthcare contracts, said that when he sees “Diane Abbott on the TV” he wants to “hate all black women” and thinks “she should be shot”. Frank Hester has money to the tune of £415m – a lot of it thanks to the NHS. Now, a Tory minister has told everyone to “move on”.

Tory DWP minister defends Hester

Conservative Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister Mel Stride said that people should “move on” from comments his governing party’s largest donor made. Queen Elizabeth gave CEO Frank Hester an Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour in 2015.

Attempting to defend Hester, Tory Stride somehow claimed the comments were not “race-based” or “gender based”. Hester also said he tried “not to be sexist”, while in a meeting at his company headquarters.

Death threat

Abbot said she now felt “less safe”. With that in mind, a white supremacist murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016. Hester said in a statement that he:

accepts that he was rude about Diane Abbott in a private meeting several years ago but his criticism had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin…

He rang Diane Abbott twice today to try to apologise directly for the hurt he has caused her, and is deeply sorry for his remarks. He wishes to make it clear that he regards racism as a poison which has no place in public life.

The death threat from a powerful Tory donor is concerning. On top of this, Abbott has described the daily “racist and sexist” abuse she receives. Britain’s first black and female MP said:

We are talking about mindless abuse, and in my case the mindless abuse has been characteristically racist and sexist.

And just to outline I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’.

There was an EDL-affiliated Twitter account [called] ‘hashtag BurnDianeAbbott’, I’ve had rape threats, [been] described as a pathetic, useless fat black, piece of shit, ugly fat black bitch and n*****.

N***** over and over again.

Cosy relationship

Hester’s relationship with the Conservative government goes both ways. Not only is he the party’s largest donor ever with 10m in donations in the past year, but he has also received £400m from the NHS and other government bodies since 2016. The businessman runs a private healthcare technology firm and, as the only shareholder, has personally profited millions from public healthcare funding. Private healthcare in general risks taking resources and expertise away from the NHS, or making them much more expensive.

In an open letter to the NHS, Hester said:

We are here for our NHS. We are here to help. Not to drive profits for shareholders, or to grease revolving doors. Let’s do it for the frontline and choose to digitise in an entirely different way.

Hester may help provide a digital service to the NHS, but he should not profit millions from public healthcare in doing so – especially when the Tory donor called for Abbott to be shot, while saying he struggles not to be racist and sexist. That’s worrying conduct.

Featured image via TPP- YouTube and BBC News – YouTube

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