James Neale Hanvey (born 28 December 1964) is an Alba Party politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath since 2019. Formerly a member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he defected from the SNP to the Alba Party in March 2021. He was the SNP member and spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Select Committee and he was briefly Shadow Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment.
|Member of Parliament|
for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
|Assumed office |
12 December 2019
|Preceded by||Lesley Laird|
|Councillor, Fife Council|
3 May 2012 – 4 May 2017
James Neale Hanvey
28 December 1964
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Political party||Alba Party (2021-)|
Scottish National Party (until 2021)
|Alma mater||City University, London|
Early life and career
Born in Belfast, Hanvey was the son of James Stafford Hanvey and Mary Isobel (Ismay) Hanvey (née Withers). He was educated at Glenrothes High School before starting a twenty-five year career in the National Health Service. In 2005, he was appointed as divisional nurse director for rare cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital. He has been a contributing author to medical textbooks.
After returning to Scotland in 2012, Hanvey was elected as a Scottish National Party councillor in the 2012 Scottish local elections for the Dunfermline Central ward in Fife. During his time as a councillor, Hanvey was the SNP spokesperson for health and social care, SNP group convener, and latterly SNP group leader in 2017, but lost his seat at the 2017 local elections. In October 2019, he was selected as the SNP candidate for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency at the 2019 general election.
Suspension and re-admission to the SNP
In November 2019, he was suspended from the party following allegations that he made antisemitic social media posts two years earlier, in which he compared Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of Jews during the Second World War and shared a newspaper article that included an image of George Soros that drew on an antisemitic trope. As a result, the SNP withdrew support for his campaign, but he remained as the party candidate on the ballot paper because the 14 November 2019 deadline for nominations had already passed. Hanvey accepted the suspension and apologised for the offending posts, stating that he was "genuinely and deeply sorry" and that "Although I do not in anyway consider myself anti-Semitic, on reflection the language I used was, and this is clearly unacceptable."
Hanvey was elected as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the 2019 general election, gaining the seat from the Labour Party's shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird by a majority of 1,243 votes. He sat as an independent MP upon his election.
During his suspension from the SNP, Hanvey was advised by the Antisemitism Policy Trust (APT) and attended several APT activities in Parliament. He also appeared before the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities to apologise in person and thank them for their "generosity of spirit and willingness to help" during this time.
In March 2020, the SNP's conduct committee agreed that Hanvey should be readmitted to the party in May 2020. The SNP released a statement on 2 June to confirm that Hanvey's six-month suspension from the party had ended on 27 May and that he would now join the SNP Westminster Group to sit as an SNP MP.
On 2 July 2020 it was announced that Hanvey had been appointed as the SNP member and spokesperson for the Westminster Health and Social Care Select Committee. In November 2020, a year after his suspension, Hanvey was elected to the SNP's Member Conduct Committee.
In February 2021, Hanvey lost his role as the SNP's vaccine spokesperson after publicly backing a crowdfunding campaign for a defamation case against several individuals, including SNP MP Kirsty Blackman. The campaign's creator, who had been planning to sue a number of people for referring to comments she had made as antisemitic, did not pursue the case to court.
Exit from the SNP
Hanvey has signed the SNP Women's Pledge, which originated amongst members of the SNP. The pledge opposes the Scottish Government's proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in Scotland which would allow transgender people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate on the basis of a statutory self-declaration, rather than the existing Gender Recognition Panel which require the involvement of a medical expert. Hanvey has said that he is supportive of transgender rights, "but can't accept that one group achieves equality by trampling the hard won rights & protections of another group", and said he is "frustrated that some refuse to see the risks of self ID despite the evidence it will be abused by sexual predators." Challenged on these comments by the LGBT news organisation Pink Saltire, Hanvey said that women's legitimate concerns were not being heard on the issue of GRA.
In April 2021, Hanvey shared an article falsely claiming the SNP were channelling public funding to organisations campaigning to lower the age of consent to 10. The SNP described these claims as "deeply homophobic and untrue", they were also condemned by Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie.
In May, Hanvey expressed his support and solidarity with Craig Murray. Murray had been found guilty of contempt of court after writing blogs that risked prejudicing Alex Salmond's trial for sexual assault and breaching the court-protected anonymity of complainants. During sentencing the judge, Lady Dorrian, said Murray's actions struck at the heart of fair administration of justice and created a risk that future complainers in high-profile sexual assault cases would be reluctant to come forward. Responding to the sentencing, Hanvey claimed that "perjurers will now be emboldened & a powerful protected elite become increasingly authoritarian & ruthless" and said a "reckoning must come."
Hanvey is one of 45 openly LGBT MPs. He lives in Fife with his partner, Avelino del Carmen Prado Cortes, and two sons. The couple have been together since 1994, and entered into a civil partnership in 2011.
He lists his recreations as "composing electronic music (have previously released material under the name 'Security Blue'), swimming, music, film".
- "Hanvey, (James) Neale, (born 28 Dec. 1964), MP (SNP) Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, since 2019". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u293966. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
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- Brunskill, Ian. The Times guide to the House of Commons 2019 : the definitive record of Britain's historic 2019 General Election. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1. OCLC 1129682574.
- "General Election 2019: Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
- "Health and Social Care Committee - Membership - Committees - UK Parliament". committees.parliament.uk. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- "Hanvey looks to use health experience in new role". Central Fife Times. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- "Health and Social care appointment". Central Fife Times. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
- "Cancer Care for Adolescents and Young Adults - Wiley". Wiley.com. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
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- "Dunfermline Central Councillor Neale Hanvey elected as new SNP group leader in Fife". Dunfermline Press. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
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- "Nicola Sturgeon: SNP members must stop supporting candidate Neale Hanvey". The Scotsman. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
- @JNHanvey (28 November 2019). "Statement from Neale Hanvey regarding his suspension as SNP candidate for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath parliamentary constituency - Election 2019" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Peeble, Sheryl (13 December 2019). "Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath: Neale Hanvey hails victory after being 'cast aside' by SNP". The Courier. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- "Apology for posts was a watershed moment for me". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- Frot, Mathilde. "MP suspended after using antisemitic language on social media readmitted to SNP". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
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- Farquharson, Kenny. "Suspended candidate Neale Hanvey vows to overturn SNP ban". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
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- O'Donoghue, Daniel. "SNP's Neale Hanvey sacked after backing campaign to sue Aberdeen MP Kirsty Blackman". thecourier.co.uk/. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- Phillimore, Sarah (8 March 2021). "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken…". Retrieved 15 May 2021.
- Matthews, James [@jamesmatthewsky] (28 March 2021). "NEW: Neale Hanvey becomes second Westminster MP to defect from SNP to Alex Salmond's Alba Party. Follows Kenny MacAskill. @SkyNews" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021 – via Twitter.
- Rodger, Hannah (1 May 2021). "Alba MPs miss every vote in Parliament since defecting from SNP". The Herald. Retrieved 1 May 2021. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- Neale Hanvey [@JNHanvey] (5 November 2019). "I have signed the women's pledge and I support women's hard won sex based rights and protections. #WomensPledge" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Brooks, Libby (14 October 2019). "Several women 'close to quitting SNP over gender recognition plans'". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- Horne, Marc (6 December 2019). "SNP members 'victims of LGBT campaign'". The Times. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- Neale Hanvey [@JNHanvey] (22 October 2019). "To be clear I believe in trans rights, but can't accept that one group achieves equality by trampling the hard won rights & protections of another group. The combative & toxic debate is unhelpful. A bit of respect & focus on child protection would be a strong start. #womenspledge" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Neale Hanvey [@JNHanvey] (22 October 2019). "I am deeply frustrated that some refuse to see the risks of self ID despite the evidence it will be abused by sexual predators. That's not transphobic it's anti sexual predator/paedophile criminals & risks all the LGBT communities protections" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Duffy, Stuart (8 November 2019). "'Women not being heard' as SNP candidate defends his GRA concerns". Pink Saltire. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "'Claims SNP funding 'paedophile charter' lobbying groups are FFS". The Ferret. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- "Alba candidate criticised for 'dangerous and irresponsible' claims about age of consent by charity". www.scotsman.com.
- Russell, Greg (25 March 2021). "Former diplomat Craig Murray formally told he's being held in contempt of court". The National. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- Philip Sim [@BBCPhilipSim] (11 May 2021). "Craig Murray has been sentenced to eight months in prison for contempt of court over the Alex Salmond trial - he is told he has 48 hours to hand himself in, although Roddy Dunlop is attempting to lodge an immediate appeal without warrant being granted" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Philip Sim [@BBCPhilipSim] (11 May 2021). "Lady Dorrian said Craig Murray's actions "strike at the heart of the fair administration of justice" and create a real risk that complainers will be reluctant to come forward in future cases, particularly high-profile ones" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Neale Hanvey [@JNHanvey] (11 May 2021). "The worrying impact on criminal justice this will have is that perjurers will now be emboldened & a powerful protected elite become increasingly authoritarian & ruthless. Power corrupts & absolute power corrupts absolutely. Never been more evident. A reckoning must come" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Brown, Steve (16 December 2019). "The new UK Parliament reportedly has the highest number of LGBTQ MPs in the world". Attitude.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2020.