SNP branch calls on party to end Fife MP’s suspension

Neale Hanvey on election night (Pic: George McLuskie)
Neale Hanvey on election night (Pic: George McLuskie)

A call has been made to the SNP to lift the suspension on Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey.

It has come from the party’s Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay branch.

It unanimously passed a resolution urging the national executive committee to bring the politician back into the fold.

The SNP axed Mr Hanvey as its official candidate for the Kirkcaldy-Cowdenbeath seat just two weeks before the General Election in December.

It suspended him from the party and removed all support for his campaign after hosts he made on social media were deemed to be anti-Semitic.

The move throw the party’s campaign for what it regarded as a key seat into turmoil.

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SNP supporters were urged by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to campaign for Stephen Gethins who was defending a two-vote majority in North-east Fife, but that sparked keen debate within the ranks when Mr Hanvey opted to fight on as an independent – his name was already on pre-printed ballot papers under the SNP name and logo, which couldn’t be altered.

A crowdfunder netted over £6000 in a matter of days, and, with the active support of Kirkcaldy’s Yes Hub, he went on to defeat Lesley Laird in the December 12 poll.

At Westminster he sits with the SNP group, but as an independent, he gets no party support.

Now, Inverkeithing and Dalgety branch has broken cover in a bid to resolve the matter.

The local group said it wanted to “express our full confidence in, and support for, Neale Hanvey as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.”
In a statement published on its social media platforms, it called for “an urgent end “ to his suspension “so that he can fully represent us as the SNP MP, thus reflecting the expressed wishes of his electorate.”

The statement – signed by Councillor David Barrett, convener, and Stephen Billcliff, secretary – added: “This would allow SNP members in the coinstituency the opportunity to concentrate on their primary aim of campaigning for independence.”

Mr Hanvey has also withdrawn as one of the speakers at an event “What is anti-Semitism – and what is not?” which takes place at the Old Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on January 23, organised by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Fife Branch.