HUMZA Yousaf has said he was left “astonished” that a Tory minister dismissed an alleged racist comment by a party donor as “trivia”.

On Wednesday, Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said comments reportedly made by Tory donor Frank Hester about Diane Abbott MP had been forgiven.

Hester allegedly said Abbott, an independent MP, made him “want to hate all black women” and that she “should be shot”.

Speaking from the House of Commons, Badenoch said: “He has apologised for his comments, we have welcomed his apology and we are drawing a line under it because we’re focused on what matters to the people of this country.

“I had letters last week of people telling me that we were wasting time focusing on issues that were not relevant to them.

“We need to focus on what matters to the British people.”

She also said the comments made by Hester were “trivia”.

On Wednesday night, Yousaf spoke on ITV show Peston – where he told the host he was “astonished” at the MP’s reaction to Hester’s comments.

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Yousaf brought up two unnamed MPs who have been killed in recent years, alluding to Labour MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death in 2016, and Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed several times to death in 2021.

Robert Peston asked the First Minister: “[Kemi Badenoch] said the Hester row was trivial. How do you react to that?"

Yousaf replied: “I was astonished when I heard that.

“How you can describe somebody saying that a black female MP should be shot as trivial, at a time of course where unfortunately we’ve seen two MPs killed in recent years, does not make any sense to me, particularly of course as Kemi had came out a couple of days before that and rightly in my opinion called out the remarks by Hester as racist.

“I think as people of colour who are in senior positions of government and senior positions in public life, we’ve got two choices – we can either reach down and give other people our hand and pull them up with us or we can pull the ladder up behind us.

“And I think those are the choices that we have to make, and in my whole political career, including in the last year as FM, I’ve tried my best to try to bring people up with me, to try to support other people of colour.”

It’s an issue Yousaf has already spoken out on as we previously told how he said Speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s snubbing of Abbott at PMQs as “institutional racism” when he refused to allow her to speak in the Commons on the issue.

Nicola Sturgeon

Peston also asked Yousaf if he would like to see former first minister Nicola Sturgeon campaign for the SNP in the lead up to the next General Election.

He replied: “She definitely will. I’ve got no doubt about that. She’s one of the most successful politicians in Europe.

“She’s got a formidable track record in terms of election victories, why on earth would you not want her to be involved in that election campaign.

“So I’m certain that she absolutely will be involved in the election campaign right throughout between now and whenever that General Election is called.”