THE Tory Party “undoubtedly is institutionally Islamophobic” and it should hand back the millions of pounds accepted from a top donor guilty of a “racist” attack on Diane Abbott, Humza Yousaf has said.

The First Minister hit out at the Conservatives after reports that Frank Hester, the party’s highest donor who has given millions to Rishi Sunak directly, said Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and “should be shot”.

The Tories had been reluctant to describe the comments as racist and Hester – the chief executive of healthcare software firm The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) – has denied that race was a factor when he spoke.

On Tuesday evening, Abbott said that she had reported Hester to the police, and No10 finally conceded the remarks were racist.

Yousaf was questioned about the scandal after giving a speech to the London School of Economics.

He was asked if, in the wake of Hester’s comments, he thinks the Conservative Party is institutionally racist or Islamophobic.

The First Minister said: “First and foremost, can I say that I stand in full solidarity with Diane Abbott. She has been a trailblazer for many years, and we may have our differences on particular issues, but I stand full square behind and alongside Diane Abbott.

“Those comments from Hester are not just racist. They're not just sexist. They are inciting hatred, which is completely and utterly unacceptable.

“If the Conservative Party had any moral principle, then they would return every single penny and tell him where his money should go.”

READ MORE: Scottish Tories refuse to condemn Frank Hester's 'racist' comments

Yousaf went on: “My honest view on the question of the Conservative Party more generally is that there is simply no doubt in my mind that the Conservative Party is not just riddled with Islamophobia, but institutionally Islamophobic.

“How could it not be when you hear the comments from [former home secretary] Suella Braverman?

“When Lee Anderson, who was a senior member of the Conservative Party up to a few days ago, was able to make the comments that he made about Sadiq Khan and not a single senior Conservative, including the Prime Minister, was able to call it Islamophobic.

“And that is, of course, the party who also elected a leader that described Muslim women as bank robbers because of the way that they look.

“So the Conservative Party, in my mind, undoubtedly is institutionally Islamophobic.”

The National: File photo dated 06/02/24 of Lee Anderson during the launch of the Popular Conservatism movement at the Emmanuel Centre in central London. Mr Anderson has had the Conservative whip suspended after making a widely criticised claim that London Mayor Sadiq

Anderson (above) defected to Reform UK on Monday after the Tories called for him to apologise for suggesting that the Mayor of London was controlled by Islamists.

Former home secretary Braverman has claimed, in an article for the Telegraph, that Islamists, extremists, and antisemites control the whole of the UK.

Boris Johnson was chosen as leader of the Conservative party in 2019, one year after comparing women wearing burqas to “bank robbers”.

On Tuesday, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch became the first Tory minister to concede that Hester’s remarks were racist. She said “the idea of linking criticism of [Abbott] to being a black woman is appalling”.

However, rather than address calls for Hester’s donations to be returned, Badenoch added: “There needs to be space for forgiveness where there is contrition.”

Later, Downing Street stepped in to say the comments were “racist and wrong”.

In a new statement issued on Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The comments allegedly made by Frank Hester were racist and wrong. He has now rightly apologised for the offence caused and where remorse is shown it should be accepted.

“The Prime Minister is clear there is no place for racism in public life and as the first British-Asian Prime Minister leading one of the most ethnically diverse Cabinets in our history, the UK is living proof of that fact.”