Fife MP Neale Hanvey, who was suspended from the SNP for using anti-Semitic language on social media, has been elected to the party’s body that investigates misbehaviour allegations.
The appointment of the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP to the SNP’s member conduct committee was criticised by the party’s political opponents, who questioned whether he was “fit” to carry out the role.
Mr Hanvey was suspended from the SNP just before the 2019 snap General Election when it emerged he had shared an article featuring a cartoon of Jewish billionaire George Soros as a puppet-master.
He made another social media post that drew parallels between the treatment of Palestinians and the “unconscionable treatment” of Jews in the Second World War.
You couldn’t make it up. The SNP’s conduct committee now includes someone investigated and suspended by the party for using anti-Semitic language.”
Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston
Mr Hanvey, who was previously Fife Council’s SNP group leader, issued an apology when his SNP candidacy was withdrawn. He still stood in the election as an independent and managed to defeat sitting Labour candidate Lesley Laird.
He was readmitted to the SNP earlier this year, following a six-month suspension that saw him go through a disciplinary process.
He was also obliged to complete an education course at a Holocaust centre and meet with Scotland’s Jewish community to apologise.
Internal SNP elections to the nine-strong committee coincided with the SNP’s virtual conference.
SNP members have elected MP Neale Hanvey to the party's Member Conduct Committee. Yes, this Neale Hanvey 👇https://t.co/0EnIGVej0r
— Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP (@jhalcrojohnston) December 1, 2020
‘You couldn’t make it up’
After Mr Hanvey’s election, Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “You couldn’t make it up. The SNP’s conduct committee now includes someone investigated and suspended by the party for using anti-Semitic language.
“His grovelling apology for making unacceptable comments was as welcome as it was necessary.
“Serious questions remain if he’s fit to investigate other people’s conduct when he’s only just finished his own suspension.”
Posts ‘upsetting and deeply offensive’
When he said sorry for his behaviour, Mr Hanvey said he had not given any thought to Mr Soros’s faith and had not considered “the connotations of the image in that context”.
He fully accepted he was wrong and apologised “unreservedly”.
Mr Hanvey also apologised for the other post in which he drew parallels between the treatment of Palestinians and the “unconscionable treatment” of Jews in the Second World War Two.
At the time, Mr Hanvey said: “This was insensitive, upsetting and deeply offensive and is in direct contravention of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” he said. “For that I give an unequivocal apology”.
The SNP has been approached for comment.