Greens bid to win SNP backing after Kirkcaldy candidate axed

Neale Hanvey - the SNP have dropped him as the Kirkcaldy-Cowdenbeath candidate
Neale Hanvey - the SNP have dropped him as the Kirkcaldy-Cowdenbeath candidate

The Scottish Greens are moving quickly to secure SNP support after the party ditched is candidate in the key marginal Kirkcaldy-Cowdenbeath seat.

Neale Hanvey had all support withdrawn and his party membership suspended pending a disciplinary hearing into alleged anti-Semitic comments on Facebook.

While his name will still appear on ballot papers, the SNP will not continue with him as a candidate – just two weeks before voters go to the polls.

The Scottish Greens said tonight that their candidate, Scott Rutherford, has won the immediate endorsement of the Yes Kirkcaldy hub.

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Mark Ruskell MSP also turned up the pressure with an appeal on social media to key SNP politicians to follow suit.

He called on the constituency’s MSPs, David Torrance and Annabelle Ewing to “do the right thing by publicly backing Scott Rutherford.”

He added: “It would send the right message about the values of the independence movement.”

Comments posted on Twitter also point to SNP supporters switching their backing to the Greens after the shock of losing their candidate in a key marginal seat where Labour’s Lesley Laird has a majority of just 259.

Some polls had him on course to win the seat – and it was high on the list of SNP targets.

Mr Rutherford also commented on the shock suspensions.

He said: “Discriminatory language is unacceptable and parties have a duty to act when their candidates use it.

“With the SNP suspending their candidate in Kirckaldy and Cowdenbeath, it’s now clear that only a vote for the Scottish Greens can unseat Lesley Laird and secure a pro-independence MP in this constituency.

“The Scottish Greens are already leading on local issues such as protecting the renewables supply chain at BiFab and tackling pollution at Mossmorran, so a vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote for independence and to demand climate action.”

It is not known if Mr Hanvey will continue to stand as an independent candidate. He has been approached for comment.