The SNP’s candidate in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Neale Hanvey, has been suspended and has issued a grovelling apology after being accused of posting anti-Semitic material on social media two years ago.
Hanvey had been hoping to unseat Labour MP Lesley Laird, who had a slender majority of only 259 votes at the last election.
But on Thursday, 28 November, Hanvey was suspended as the SNP’s candidate and posted a long statement on his Twitter page in which he explained his actions.
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 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.”
The image in question is believed to have been a cartoon of Mr. Soros, the Hungarian-born financier, holding the puppet strings of US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Asked whether he considered it fair to refer to the image as anti-Semitic, veteran broadcaster and former Labour MP, George Galloway, said: “It's absolutely absurd.”
SNP has dropped Neale Hanvey as candidate for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath. Time for local Yessers to get behind the excellent @scotgp candidate Scott Rutherford. Greens are pro indy party too, so dinnae waste votes. Back @YesKirkcaldy & vote Green in K&C. I'm happy to help— Lesley Riddoch (@LesleyRiddoch) November 28, 2019
Mr Galloway, who hosts The Mother Of All Talk Shows on Sputnik radio, said: “The relationship between Russia and Israel is close and warm. There are millions of dual citizens of Russia and Israel. The Russian government criticises human rights abuses and crimes committed by this or that Israeli Government. But the idea that Sputnik News would be somehow anti semitic is absolutely ridiculous.”
One of the other posts which got Mr Hanvey in trouble was when he made a link between the treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Jews during the Second World War, which was in direct contravention of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.
He conceded this had been “insensitive, upsetting and deeply offensive.”
Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath voters Neale Hanvey’s name will be on the ballot with SNP and the logo beside it. There is NO point switching to Green that will let Labour in. SNP voters will see SNP & vote for Neale if he wins - like Michele Thompson he will be an independent MP— DeniseFindlay (@GraceBrodie) November 29, 2019
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath was represented by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown between its creation in 2005 and his retirement in 2015.
Mr Hanvey’s suspension follows that of Safia Ali, Labour’s candidate in Falkirk - another Scottish constituency - earlier this week, again for allegedly posting anti-Semitic content.
Earlier this month Ryan Houghton, the Conservative candidate in the Aberdeen North constituency, was suspended for posting “anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic comments” on social media seven years ago and another Tory candidate, Flora Scarabello, was suspended in Glasgow Central for using “anti-Muslim” language.