A candidate ousted from the SNP for alleged antisemitism says he is “quite hopeful” of winning back the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat.
Neale Hanvey was the party’s candidate for the constituency, but was dropped on November 26 after comments he made on social media more than two years ago came to light.
Despite his suspension, his name still appeared on the ballot paper under the SNP as the deadline for candidates to be nominated passed on November 14.
Speaking to the BBC on Thursday morning as Fife votes were being counted, Mr Hanvey said he felt a “responsibility” to Scottish independence supporters in the area.
He said: “Well I think the team are quite hopeful at the moment.”
On his decision to continue as a candidate despite being suspended by the SNP, Mr Hanvey added: “It is impossible to answer that with any great clarity but certainly it was a strong response from the Yes community, in Kirkcaldy in particular, but indeed across the constituency.
“I feel I had a responsibility to carry on not just for myself. I feel a responsibility for them (the community) to have somewhere to place their vote in this election.”
He said he had apologised to members of the Jewish community across Tayside and Fife, and wider Scotland.
Mr Hanvey added: “I have a lot of friends in the party (the SNP). I feel at home in the party. I hope that this does not define me as an individual.”
The SNP withdrew all support for Mr Hanvey and his membership was suspended “pending disciplinary action”.
The former councillor shared an article from Russian-state “news” network Sputnik, which contained an image of Jewish investor George Soros “controlling world leaders like a puppet master” – a known anti-Semitic trope.