MP suspended after using antisemitic language on social media readmitted to SNP

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MP suspended after using antisemitic language on social media readmitted to SNP

Neale Hanvey won the marginal Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in the 2019 general election despite his suspension from the SNP over the material from 2016

Neale Hanvey
Neale Hanvey

An MP who apologised last year for using antisemitic language on social media in 2016 has been readmitted into the SNP following a six-month suspension.

Neale Hanvey won the marginal Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in the 2019 general election despite his suspension from the SNP.

He has now completed an educational course with the antisemitism charity, the Antisemitism Policy Trust, and apologised in person to representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hanvey said he was “delighted” to rejoin the SNP and SNP parliamentary group.

He said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported me through this challenging time, and in particular to Danny Stone, chief executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust, for his support and guidance over the past few months.

“Completing the Yad Vashem course has been of great personal value and will be of significant assistance in delivering my responsibility to local education and the constructive challenging unconscious and deliberate acts of antisemitism,  intolerance and its impacts. I am committed to continuing my work with Danny and the APT team into the future as a parliamentarian.

“I look forward to being part of the strong SNP representation in Westminster as I continue my work as an MP standing up for my constituents and Scotland.”

An Antisemitism Policy Trust spokesperson said the charity was “satisfied” that the MP had acted in good faith during the process.

The spokesperson said: “Neale Hanvey recognises that he made two antisemitic posts on social media. Antisemitism, particularly from those holding public office, is always unacceptable as it sets a worrying example.

“Our organisation works to educate parliamentarians and others. Neale engaged in an online course, attended events we ran, and undertook reading and other learning.

“Though this is the beginning of a process rather than the end, we are satisfied that he has engaged in good faith, and we will continue to work with him in the same way.

“We are pleased the SNP took this matter so seriously and will continue to work with all parties to ensure their representatives understand the consequences of antisemitism.”

Hanvey had apologised “unreservedly” in a statement issued after his suspension.

He said at the time: “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.”

An SNP spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Neale Hanvey’s six-month suspension from the SNP ended on 27 May, having met the requirements set out by the Member Conduct Committee.

“His application to now join the SNP Westminster Group has been accepted and he will now sit as an SNP MP. We thank the Antisemitism Policy Trust for its work and all that they do to educate and empower decision-makers to address antisemitism.”

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