Senior Fife SNP figure backs axed Kirkcaldy candidate Neale Hanvey

George Kay (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
George Kay (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

One of the district’s most senior former SNP councillors has said he will go against his party and back axed election candidate Neale Hanvey.

George Kay offered his full support “regardless of the personal consequences.”

Mr Kay’s intervention comes the day after Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, urged party members to direct their support to Stephen Gethins’ campaign to retain the north-east Fife seat.

Mr Hanvey was ditched as the party’s candidate for sharing posts on social media which were deemed anti-Semitic.

His name remains on the pre-printed ballot papers as an SNP candidate, but he will continue as a independent candidate with no party support.

Mr Kay entered the debate over the battle for the nationalist vote in a key marginal that was high on the SNP’s list of target seats.

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The former councillor – the longest serving member in the Kirkcaldy area – underlined the dilemma facing many party members over where their vote should now go.

He described Mr Hanvey as “an excellent candidate who can take us on the next step to independence” but said, if he backed him, then he faced potential action from the party he first joined in 1975.

Mr Kay said: “The party has been forced to take action against him on the grounds of anti-Semitism. Not only are these charges absurd but behind them are other motivations which are much more sinister and led by a darker group other than the SNP .

“I hold no problem with the party having to take the measures it did, but I hope in the subsequent enquiry every aspect of this situation will be considered.”

He said the “honest thing” was to “weigh my party membership of 45 years against the need to see a dedicated, responsible person represent us at Westminster” and endorsed Mr Hanvey adding: “I can think of no better political ambassador to carry forward the spirits of those candles to the constituency, to Fife to Scotland and to the world.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that regardless of what the personal consequences might be that I will be continuing to give my fullest support to Neale.”

Mr Hanvey is one of six candidates contesting the marginal Kirkcaldy-Cowdenbeath constituency.

Lesley Laird is defending a 259 majority for Labour.

Gill Alexander-Cole is fighting the seat for the Lib Dems, Kathleen Leslie for the Tories, Mitch William for the Brexit Party and Scott Rutherford for the Greens.