A CAP should be introduced to limit the amount individuals and campaign groups can donate to political parties, the Scottish Greens have argued.

The call comes as the Tory party faces continued condemnation over donations by millionaire businessman Frank Hester, who is reported to have said veteran MP Diane Abbott - Britain's first female black MP - made him "want to hate all black women" and “should be shot”.

Hester has donated at least £10 million to the party and the Tories are coming under continued pressure to hand back the cash.

But Transport Secretary Mark Harper said on Sunday “the donation stands” as he defended keeping hold of the money.

Energy minister Graham Stuart also defended Hester last week as he said he was “hesitant” to describe Hester’s comments as racist.

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The Prime Minister eventually described Hester’s comments as “racist” after initially refusing to do so.

Tortoise Media has reported Hester has donated another £5m to the party on top of the confirmed £10m, but it has not yet been declared. Gifts made up until March do not have to published until June, but the Conservative Party has not denied the additional payment.

The Greens have insisted there must now be strict new rules to curb the impact and influence of wealthy donors on politics.

The party has also suggested there should be a cap on the amount parties can spend during an election.

Green MSP Maggie Chapman insisted the “shameful saga” around Hester illustrates why the influence of the super-rich must be stemmed.

He said: “Frank Hester’s remarks were grotesque, and it is utterly shameful that the Tories have still not returned his dirty money, but the problem is much wider than Hester and his racist and misogynistic comments.

“It’s the whole broken system for party funding. When wealthy individuals give huge sums of money to political parties they aren’t doing it to be nice, they’re doing it to secure influence and power, and it works.

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“The Tory Party clearly won’t stand up to the people who are bankrolling them or risk doing anything that may lose their support - that is why so many ministers have been so prepared to defend Mr Hester.

“This whole shameful saga emphasises why we must curb the influence of the super-rich, rather than allowing them to dominate so much of our politics.

“The system is broken and it is fundamentally undemocratic. It has put far too much power in the hands of a small number of dodgy donors and cronies. That is why we need hard caps on how much can be donated by individuals or campaign groups and how much parties can spend on elections.”

In 2011, the Committee and Standards on Public Life recommended a £10,000 a year cap on individual donations, and has subsequently called for a series of reforms to increase transparency.

Analysis by The Independent in 2021 showed just 10 wealthy people accounted for a quarter of all donations made by individuals to the Conservative Party.

Chapman added: “It is 13 years since the Committee and Standards on Public Life recommended a £10,000 a year cap on individual donations. It was totally ignored by the UK Government. The problem has got worse since then.”

Political parties in 2023 accepted more than £22m in donations and public funds during the final quarter of 2023, according to the Electoral Commission, with just under half of that received by the Tories (£9.7m).

In total across the year, more than £93m was accepted by parties – a staggering 81% increase.

In the final quarter of last year, Labour accepted more than £8.5m, the LibDems received £2.7m, the SNP accepted £387,184 and the Scottish Greens took £46,233.