THREE parliamentary candidates in Scotland have now been dropped by their parties within two days as anti-Semitism and racism allegations continue to engulf next month’s General Election.

The latest casualty to emerge last night was Neale Hanvey, the SNP candidate in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, the second most marginal Labour seat in Scotland.

It is being defended by shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird with a majority of just 259 votes.

Hanvey previously promoted a website article featuring a cartoon of the Jewish billionaire George Soros as a puppet-master.

The SNP has now withdrawn all support for the candidacy of the former group leader on Fife Council, and said he had been suspended pending disciplinary action.

In a statement, Hanvey blamed his suspension on several social media posts from more than two years ago.

"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," he said.

"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 now understand in contravention of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. For that I give an unequivocal apology.

"However upsetting this is for me, I fully support the decision of the National Secretary to suspend me.

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

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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.”

Scottish Labour earlier dropped its candidate in Falkirk after she was alleged to have made anti-Semitic posts on Facebook. The party immediately suspended Safia Ali when the posts – understood to be from an old Facebook account – came to light, saying the party “deeply regret” her selection.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Safia Ali is no longer the Labour Party’s candidate for Falkirk. We have taken immediate action on this matter.

“We deeply regret that Safia Ali was selected and that Labour members and supporters will not have a Labour candidate to campaign and vote for.”

The posts that led to Ali’s suspension are thought to have been shared on an old Facebook profile which belonged to her but was not vetted during her selection.

Her case is likely to be investigated under Labour’s new disciplinary procedures for expelling members that was agreed at the party conference. This gives the National Executive Committee power to expel members within weeks.

On Wednesday, the Scottish Tories withdrew support for their Glasgow Central candidate Flora Scarabello, for allegedly using Islamophobic language.

All three suspended candidates will remain on the ballot paper on December 12, as it is too late to remove or replace them, but will no longer have any party support or funding.