SNP candidate suspended after using anti-Semitic language in social media posts

28 November 2019, 22:57

File photo: SNP candidate Neale Hanvey has been suspended
File photo: SNP candidate Neale Hanvey has been suspended. Picture: PA

By Megan White

An SNP candidate who was suspended for using anti-Semitic language in social media posts has apologised "unreservedly.”

Neale Hanvey, who had been due to contest the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, was suspended on Wednesday pending disciplinary action after the posts from two years ago were discovered.

The party said it is taking "tough action" against anti-Semitism as it suspended Mr Hanvey, who was running against Scottish Labour's deputy leader Lesley Laird.

While his name will remain on the ballot paper for the December 12 vote, SNP business convener Kirsten Oswald said the party had withdrawn all support for him.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Hanvey said his suspension relates to social media posts made more than two years ago, for which he was "genuinely and deeply sorry".

He said: "One message I posted was a news article from Sputnik news relating to Mr George Soros which, I have since been advised, contained an image which is considered an anti-Semitic trope.

“On this occasion I did not give any thought to Mr Soros' faith and did not consider the connotations of the image in that context.

"I fully accept that this was wrong and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.

“Whilst that was not my intention, that was the effect and I accept full responsibility for this serious misjudgement.

"In another message I posted I drew parallels between the treatment of Palestinians and the unconscionable treatment of Jews in Europe during WW2.

“This was insensitive, upsetting and deeply offensive and is in direct contravention of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. For that I give an unequivocal apology.

“Although I do not in any way consider myself anti-Semitic, on reflection the language I used was and this is clearly unacceptable.

“I accept there may not be the words to express my regret for those I have offended, but I am genuinely and deeply sorry."

He said he fully supports the National Secretary's decision to suspend him.

It is understood the party took the action after consulting representatives of the Jewish community in Scotland.

Ms Oswald said: "Anti-Semitism has no place in Scotland and no place in the SNP.

"All political parties have a duty to show leadership and to take tough action.

"Neale Hanvey is no longer an SNP candidate and his membership has been suspended pending disciplinary action.

"All support for his campaign has been withdrawn."