SNP members ‘victims of LGBT campaign’ The Times 06.12.19

The original article is here.

LGBT activists within the SNP are allegedly digging up dirt on members who oppose self-identification for trans people in a campaign to “purge” them from the party, it has been claimed.

Neale Hanvey was dropped as the SNP candidate for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath last week after alleged antisemitic social media posts came to light.

The complaints against Mr Hanvey are believed to have been raised by colleagues within his own party. He had voiced support for Women’s Pledge, a group that opposes plans to alter the law to allow people to “self-identify” as a woman or man without the need for medical checks.

Supporters of the pledge include Joanna Cherry, who is running for re-election in Edinburgh South West, and Joan McAlpine. They fear women and girls could fall victim to predatory men or lose access to single-sex spaces.

Opponents of the pledge, centred around the Out for Independence (OFI) group, believe opposition to self-identification is motivated by prejudice and transphobia.

The case against Mr Hanvey, who compared Israel’s policy on Palestine to the Holocaust, was due to come before the SNP disciplinary panel, which includes Denise Findlay, another Women’s Pledge supporter. She quit the SNP on Wednesday after Twitter posts in which she accused Israel of carrying out “genocide” against the Palestinians were sent to a broadcaster.

Leeze Lawrence, a transgender woman and OFI supporter, tweeted: “Glad to hear Denise Findlay has resigned from the SNP conduct committee. The party is a better place without hateful rhetoric in it.” She added: “I’ll be taking names and make sure they never get back in.”

After Mr Hanvey’s suspension one transgender activist wrote on social media: “So good to see the SNP finally start to discipline some of the bigoted MSPs in the party. Now what about McAlpine, Cherry and Denise Findlay? Hope to see them out next.”

Ms Findlay’s place on the committee has been taken by Declan Blench, national secretary of OFI.

One SNP politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was little doubt the complaint against Mr Hanvey was “an inside job”. They added: “This is nothing to do with genuine concerns about antisemitism and everything to do with his support for Women’s Pledge.”

Susan Smith, of the feminist group, said that “we absolutely condemn antisemitism”, but added: “A faction within the SNP have made no secret of the fact they are ‘taking names’ in order to push out from the inside supporters of the Women’s Pledge.”

Graham Purnell, an SNP supporter, tweeted: “Some thoroughly nasty people have infiltrated the SNP and their priority is not independence.”

Mr Hanvey declined to comment “as my case remains sub judice”.

An SNP spokesman said: “Neil Hanvey and Denise Findlay were suspended because of antisemitic comments and for that reason alone.”

The Times tried to contact Ms Lawrence for comment.

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