SNP becomes latest party to dump election candidate over anti-semitism allegations
The SNP has withdrawn its support for one of its general election candidates after he was accused of anti-semitism.
Neale Hanvey is standing in the ultra-marginal seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, which Labour currently holds with a majority of just 259.
He was suspended by his party for sharing a post on Facebook in 2016 which included an image of Jewish billionaire George Soros as a puppet master controlling world leaders.
In another message, he compared the treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust,
Because the deadline for nominating candidates has passed, Mr Hanvey will still represent the SNP on the ballot paper.
SNP business convener Kirsten Oswald said: "Anti-semitism has no place in Scotland, and no place in the SNP. All political parties have a duty to show leadership, and to take tough action.
"Neale Hanvey is no longer an SNP candidate, and his membership has been suspended pending disciplinary action. All support for his campaign has been withdrawn."
In a statement on Twitter, the former councillor said he had not given any thought to Mr Soros's religion when posting the image "and did not consider the connotations of the image in this context".
He said: "I fully accept that this was wrong and apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.
"While that was not my intention, that was the effect and I acceot full responsibility for this serious misjudgement."
Mr Henvey also conceded that his post about Palestinians was "insensitive, upsetting and deeply offensive", and contravened the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism.
In a separate Twitter post, he said: "I’m still a candidate, folk can still vote for me."
The SNP's decision gives Labour's Lesley Laird a chance, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, the chance to retain a seat that opinion polls had suggested she was on course to lose.
It came just hours after it emerged that Labour had withdrawn its backing for Safia Ali, its election candidate in Falkirk, over anti-semitism allegations.
Scottish Labour was also forced to dump Caithness candidate Bill Curran for expressing his support for former MP Chris Williamson, who claimed the party had been "too apologetic" in its response to anti-semitism.
Meanwhile, the party's candidate in Gordon, Kate Ramsden, decided to quit following a row over posts she had made on Facebook which compared Israel to an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.