SNP to readmit MP who was suspended for online antisemitism

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SNP to readmit MP who was suspended for online antisemitism

Scottish party allows Neale Hanvey back after he was dropped as its candidate the seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in 2017, which he went on to win in 2019

Credit: Neale Hanvey YouTube
Credit: Neale Hanvey YouTube

An MP who was suspended from the SNP for using antisemitic language on social media is to be readmitted to the party, according to reports.

Neale Hanvey was dropped by the party in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – won by Labour’s Lesley Laird in 2017 – while an investigation took place but remained on the ballot paper and won the seat in the 2019 election.

He has represented the constituency as an Independent MP, but the Herald now reports he has been sanctioned with a six-month suspension backdated to November 28, the day the party initially took action against him.

The newspaper adds that he must successfully complete an educational course with an antsSemitism charity (the Antisemitism Policy Trust) and meet with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJec) to apologise.

Mr Hanvey was dropped on November 26 after comments he made on social media over two years ago came to light.

His six-month suspension means he could be back in the SNP from May 29.

A disciplinary hearing is reported to have been held on Saturday and Mr Hanvey was said to be informed of its decision on Tuesday.

He apologised for any offence caused in the days following his suspension.

An SNP spokesman said: “The decision of the member conduct committee is open to appeal and so we cannot make any additional comment at this stage.

“As was said at the time of Mr Hanvey’s suspension, there is no place for anti-Semitism in the SNP or in our society.”

The Antisemitism Policy Trust’s Danny Stone said: “Our organisation’s core purpose is to educate decision makers about antisemitism. We are committed to working with Neale and parliamentarians in any party that wish to better understand anti-Jewish racism, particularly if they have engaged in it and recognise that they are wrong.”

In a statement on Twitter posted in late November, 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 George Soros which, I have since been advised, contained an image which is considered an antisemitic trope. On this occasion I did not give any thought to 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.”

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