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Carlaw urges SNP to discipline activists who campaign for suspended candidate

The Scottish Tory leader has challenged Nicola Sturgeon to show ‘real leadership’ on anti-Semitism.

Jackson Carlaw (left) and Nicola Sturgeon (PA)
Jackson Carlaw (left) and Nicola Sturgeon (PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

The SNP is facing calls to take disciplinary action against party members who campaign for a candidate who was dropped by the party over alleged anti-Semitic comments.

Jackson Carlaw called on Nicola Sturgeon to show “real leadership” and act if SNP activists campaign for Neale Hanvey.

Mr Hanvey is now fighting the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat as an independent candidate, after being suspended by the SNP.

While Ms Sturgeon has called on local activists to instead campaign in the neighbouring North East Fife seat, where the SNP’s Stephen Gethins won by a majority of just two votes last time round, Yes supporters have continued to support Mr Hanvey.

Mr Hanvey’s name will remain on the ballot paper for the December 12 General Election alongside the SNP logo, because he was suspended after nominations closed.

Scottish Conservatives have suspended Ryan Houghton, who had been their candidate in Aberdeen North, for alleged anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic comments he made some time ago.

The party has also withdrawn support for Flora Scarabello in Glasgow Central amid claims of “anti-Muslim language”.

Mr Carlaw said: “When I say the Scottish Conservative Party has withdrawn support for candidates, I have led my party and my party has followed my leadership.

“I am dismayed that in the case of the SNP, SNP activists have continued to campaign and even support the crowdfunding of a candidate the SNP have suspended.”

He added: “The most I have heard is a little murmur of discontent from Nicola Sturgeon, she needs to show real leadership and call a halt to this, and say that anyone else found out campaigning for a candidate they don’t think is suitable, or someone who should be supported, will also be disciplined.”

Mr Hanvey has apologised for the social media posts made two years ago, saying: “Although I do not in any way consider myself anti-Semitic, on reflection the language I used was, and this is clearly unacceptable.”

An SNP spokesman said: “The SNP has shown leadership by taking tough action where the Tories have failed.

“All party support for Mr Hanvey’s campaign has been withdrawn, and activists have been told to campaign elsewhere. Any complaints will be dealt with in line with party policy.

“Jackson Carlaw must explain why he continues to campaign for Boris Johnson – a man who has been widely condemned for a long history of disgusting racist and homophobic comments.

“He should withdraw his support for Boris Johnson and apologise.”

PA

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