Conservatives silent on whether Susan Hall has received cash from race row donor

By Staff

The Conservative Party is remaining tight-lipped on whether its candidate for London’s mayoralty, Susan Hall, has received any cash from the Tory donor at the heart of a race row over alleged comments he made about London MP Diane Abbott. Frank Hester – a British businessman, and the founder and CEO of software company the Phoenix Partnership – has given the Conservatives £10 million.

The Guardian reported on Monday (March 11) that he told colleagues in 2019 that looking at Ms Abbott – who is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington – makes you ‘want to hate all Black women’ and said the UK’s first black female member of the House of Commons ‘should be shot’.

When asked by MyLondon whether Ms Hall, who will take on City Hall’s incumbent, Sadiq Khan, and other candidates for the capital’s highest office on May 2, has received any money from Mr Hester, a source close to her campaign said that they could not comment because they were unable to find out.

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They suggested approaching the party’s central office. A spokesperson said: “All funding will be reported in the normal way, in compliance with election law.”

London Elects says that the regulated period for mayoral candidates, constituency London Assembly Member candidates and independent Londonwide Assembly Member candidates begins on the day after the date an individual officially becomes a candidate. For Londonwide Assembly Member candidates on a political party list, the regulated period begins on the day after the date the political party list is submitted to the Greater London Returning Officer (GLRO).

Spending has to be declared within 70 days of election

Mayoral and Londonwide Assembly Member candidates have to declare their expenditure to the GLRO after the results have been declared. All spending has to be declared within 70 days for mayoral and Londonwide Assembly Member candidates.

MyLondon was told yesterday (Wednesday, March 14) that Ms Hall – who is a member of the London Assembly and a serving councillor in Harrow – agreed with the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who reiterated during prime minister’s questions this week that Mr Hester’s comments were ‘racist and wrong’.

The Liberal Democrat candidate for London’s mayoralty, Rob Blackie, said on X yesterday: “Will Conservative London Mayoral candidate @Councillorsuzie confirm if she has received money from Frank Hester? And if so, will she return it?”

A spokesperson for Mr Hester said in a statement: “Frank Hester 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. The Guardian is right when it quotes Frank saying he abhors racism, not least because he experienced it as the child of Irish immigrants in the 1970s.”

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