Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper
Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper

Leader of Worthing Borough Council, Dr Beccy Cooper has written to Worthing West MP, Sir Peter Bottomley condemning the violent, racist and sexist comments reported in The Guardian (12 March 2024), by Tory donor Frank Hester, about Diane Abbott MP.

In the letter (printed in full below), Cllr Cooper calls on the Sir Peter to refuse financial support for the General Election, if it is funded by Frank Hester’s money.

Dear Sir Peter,


As a General Election campaign approaches and political parties begin preparations, I am writing to you seeking assurances that your campaign and local Conservative Association will not use funds given to by the Conservative Party which have be donated by Frank Hester.  


As you will know this week, Frank Hester’s abhorrent racist views became clearMr Hester is reported to have said that he wanted to shoot an elected Member of Parliament. This falls well below the standard of behaviour the residents of  Worthing West expect and it is right that no party of government uses funds donated by this man.


The Guardian reported that Frank Hester said “[The executive] and Diane Abbott need to be shot”, and that “you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and […] you just want to hate all black women because she’s there, and I don’t hate all black women at all, but I think she should be shot.” 


It was also reported that Frank Hester said of a female executive from a separate company that “it would be much better if she died. She’s consuming resource. She’s eating food that other people could eat.”


The Conservative Party has taken £10,000,000 in donations since February 2023 from Frank Hester or The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) where he is founder and sole shareholder.


While – in good faith – we assume that the Conservative Party was not aware of Mr. Hester’s views at the time of receiving these donations, it is only right that you and your party take these new revelations into account seriously.


Yet, Rishi Sunak has refused to return the money.


This now means it is your responsibility to refuse support from your party if it is funded by Frank Hester’s money. Accepting and using that money can only be treated as an implicit condoning of his deeply disturbing comments and the way he has run his business. Will you take responsibility and turn down this support?


I will be publishing this letter in the public interest.


Yours sincerely,

Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, Leader Worthing Borough Council

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