A senior cabinet minister has refused to confirm whether the Conservatives have taken another £5 million donation from Frank Hester, the businessman at the centre of a violent race row.

Mark Harper also declined to comment on “hypotheticals” when pressed repeatedly on whether the party would accept more cash from the donor.

According to the Guardian, at a 2019 meeting, Mr Hester was alleged to have said: "It's like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV, and you're just like I hate, 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."

He has since apologised for making "rude" comments but claimed his words "had nothing to do with her gender nor colour of skin".

READ MORE: Scottish Tories urge UK party to 'review' race row donation

Downing Street initially declined to describe the remarks as racist, with ministers sent out to defend Mr Hester and reject calls for the money to be returned.

No 10 only changed position after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch intervened.

Last week, Tortoise Media, reported that Mr Hester had given another £5m to the party. However, there was some push back with party sources saying the money had not yet been handed over.

Mr Harper told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “We took a donation that predated his comments and we’ve declared that in the usual way, which is how people know that he’s made that donation.

“He’s made comments and he’s apologised for them and the Prime Minister has made it very clear that the donation stands.

“If in the future there’s a future donation, that will be declared in the usual way. But that’s a hypothetical question that will be looked at.”

The Herald:

Mr Harper defended Mr Sunak for initially taking a day to describe to the remarks as racist.

“Although you said it took an age in political terms, it didn’t really take very long at all,” he insisted.

“The Prime Minister was very clear on Wednesday and his spokesman had been clear the evening before that they were racist comments.”

When it was put to him that No 10 only changed after Ms Badenoch said the remark was racist, Mr Harper said: “I’m sure people wanted to make sure and check the facts.

“Having an argument about how many hours it took to say something, I don’t really think is the issue here.”

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak found again in between a rock and hard place

Labour suspended Ms Abbott eleven months ago for saying Irish, Jewish and Traveller people do not face racism “all their lives”.

She withdrew her remarks the same day and apologised “for any anguish caused”.

However, she remains suspended while the party investigates. Unless she has the whip restored, she will not be able to stand in as a Labour candidate.

While speaking on Sky News, Mr Ashworth did not say whether he wanted the Labour whip restored to Ms Abbott but said there was an “independent process” for that, which in his view “shouldn’t be bent to political pressure by politicians”.

The Labour frontbencher told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg he did not know why the investigation into Ms Abbott’s comments had taken nearly a year.

“You’re asking me questions which I quite properly do not know the answer to, because – if it’s an independent process – they’re not going to be telling me as a politician the ins and outs of what is going on,” he said.

Asked if he could guarantee it would conclude before the general election, he said: “I would hope so.”