No wider problem of anti-Semitism within SNP, Sturgeon insists

Nicola Sturgeon has said there is not a wider problem of anti-Semitism within the SNP after a member resigned from the party over her social media content.

Denise Findlay left the party after being challenged about a spate of posts, which included calling Israel a “Nazi state”.

Ms Findlay was on the conduct committee expected to investigate Neale Hanvey, the former SNP candidate contesting the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency who was suspended last week for alleged anti-Semitism.

General Election 2019
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP campaign bus in front of the Forth Bridge (Jane Barlow/PA)

Asked about anti-Semitism within her party, SNP, Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t think there is a wider problem but as I think we’ve demonstrated over the past week with a candidate and obviously now, in this case, we won’t tolerate anti-Semitism in the SNP.

“I think that’s the appropriate response, when things come to light in terms of people’s past comments then we take action where that is appropriate and will continue to do so.”

Speaking on her party’s newly unveiled election bus, Ms Sturgeon added: “We’ve signed up to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and – as we did with the candidate in Kircaldy last week – if there are concerns raised about people’s comments or views we also consult with the Jewish representatives here in Scotland to take their advice and their views on whether or not something was anti-Semitic.

“We will continue to respond appropriately when issues like that – if issues like that – are brought to our attention.”

On Wednesday evening, Ms Findlay tweeted: “I’ve had to resign from the SNP.

“There are tweets where I’m arguing that Israel=Nazi should not be part of the definition of anti-Semitism. They were given to C4.”

She later posted: “Just so you know I still support the SNP and will definitely be voting for them and I hope everyone who supports independence will vote SNP.”

An SNP spokesman said: “There is no place for anti-Semitism in Scotland or in the SNP.

“All political parties have a duty to show leadership and we will always take tough action in order to reassure the Jewish community that these matters are taken seriously.

“When challenged on her actions, Denise Findlay resigned from the SNP. The views she expressed are entirely at odds with the ethos of this party.”

Mr Hanvey remains on the ballot paper in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, won by Labour’s Lesley Laird in 2017, but the SNP has withdrawn all support.

In his apology for the social media posts made more than two years ago, he said: “Although I do not in any way consider myself anti-Semitic, on reflection the language I used was, and this is clearly unacceptable.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has urged SNP activists to campaign for candidates in neighbouring seats.

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