KIRKCALDY and Cowdenbeath candidate Neale Hanvey has been suspended from the SNP for anti-Semitic remarks made on social media.

The former Dunfermline Central councillor had been due to contest Lesley Laird's seat for the party on December 12.

His name will remain on the ballot paper but he will not be the SNP candidate after his membership was suspended pending disciplinary action.

Mr Hanvey has apologised "unreservedly" for his actions and confirmed his suspension relates to social media posts he made over two years ago.

He stated: "One message I posted was a news article from Sputnik news relating to Mr. George Soros which, I have since been advised, contained an image which is considered an anti-Semitic trope. On this occasion I did not give any thought to Mr Soros’ faith and did not consider the connotations of the image in that context.

"I fully accept that this was wrong and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. Whilst that was not my intention, that was the effect and I accept full responsibility for this serious misjudgement.

"In another message I posted I drew parallels between the treatment of Palestinians and the unconscionable treatment of Jews in Europe during WW2. This was insensitive, upsetting and deeply offensive, and as I know understand in contravention of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. For that I give an unequivocal apology."

Mr Hanvey said that while the suspension was "upsetting" for him, he fully supported the decision to suspend him.

"The First Minister has called for leadership on this issue and she is absolutely right to take a zero tolerance approach," he added.

"My disappointment is that I have let down the First Minister and party colleagues by careless and casual use of language without giving it the proper thought it deserves. Although I do not in anyway consider myself anti-Semitic, on reflection the language I used was, and this is clearly unacceptable.

"I accept there may not be the words to express my regret for those I have offended, but I am genuinely and deeply sorry.

"I hope in the days ahead my errors can be used in furthering the understanding of anti-Semitic language and seek to make amends for these dreadful errors of judgement with the Jewish community."

SNP business convener Kirsten Oswald said that while Mr Hanvey's name will remain on the ballot paper for the December 12 vote, the party had withdrawn all support for him.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in Scotland and no place in the SNP," she said. “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.”