Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Neale Hanvey says he does not owe anyone a by-election, despite Alba failure at council elections

Neale Hanvey MP
Neale Hanvey MP

A Fife Alba MP elected under the SNP banner has insisted he doesn’t owe anyone a by-election, despite another electoral humiliation for his new party.

Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, says it would be “ludicrous” to hold a by-election to show whether or not his constituents still support him, adding he has “no cause” to answer.

Mr Hanvey was elected as an independent MP back in 2019 as he was suspended from the SNP over allegations of anti-Semitic social media posts – he did however still appear on the ballot paper as an SNP candidate as the suspension came too late into the election campaign.

He later went on to re-join the SNP before defecting to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party in the run-up to the 2021 Holyrood election.

However Alba failed to win any seats at that election – and have suffered another blow after winning absolutely nothing in the 2022 council elections either.

We spoke to Mr Hanvey who believes he still has the support of his constituents despite the lacklustre support for his new party across the country.

By-election would be ‘ludicrous’

When asked if Mr Hanvey should subject himself to a by-election vote, he said: “No, that is ludicrous.

“I was elected as an independent and there was no call for a by-election when I joined the SNP and there is no cause for me to answer about joining the Alba Party.

“I won that election on independence in horrendous circumstances.

Neale Hanvey winning his seat in 2019 with SNP supporters

“To suggest I owe the SNP a by-election is ludicrous, no one has any claim over my victory whatsoever.”

He also blamed Alba’s poor performance in the council elections on the SNP, saying the party sent a “very clear message” to not vote for any other independence-supporting party.

Doubt over IndyRef2 in 2023

Alba Party’s main goal is to campaign for Scottish independence.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she would like to hold IndyRef2 as early as next year – Mr Hanvey however has said he does not believe this will actually happen.

He has also warned the SNP to be prepared for more of its members to defect to Alba if an independence referendum is not held in 2023.

He said: “The SNP won the election on a very clear commitment to deliver an independence referendum next year.

“Now it is up to them to come up with the goods.

“Alba didn’t get the vote to demand anything but we will continue to campaign for independence, that is the whole point of the party being established.

“The first minister is really up against it.

“Alex Salmond had an enormous victory in 2011 and secured and delivered a referendum within 18 months.

“Those 18 months are just about to start slipping away from Nicola Sturgeon.

“If the first minister is serious about having a referendum in 2023 she needs to get her skates on.

“But I personally don’t believe that will happen.

“Based on my experience in the SNP group there is a lukewarm interest in independence and I know there is zero work being done to progress it.”

Mr Hanvey said he now believes the SNP are happy to be a devolutionist party rather than an independence party, and added: “There is no love lost between the SNP leadership and me.

“But I still have a lot of friends in the SNP and many have told me if they don’t deliver in 2023 they are finished, and Alba has to be ready for that as a party.

“It is the final straw for them.”

Plans to stand in next general election

Looking ahead beyond 2023, Mr Hanvey has also indicated he intends to stand as an Alba candidate in the next general election, which is due to be held before January 24, 2025.

However despite saying he will not hold a by-election before then, he said he has no wish for a “lengthy” career in the House of Commons.

He said: “In 2019 the SNP leadership lead attacks on me to try and see I lost the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat.

Neale Hanvey MP

“They did everything they could to stop me from winning that election.

“But I was not prepared to hand over a seat I proved was winnable to my opponents.

“I stood for election because I thought we were going to be tasked with the job of progressing independence.

“I didn’t come into politics for a career – I had a successful career in the NHS, so I have no ambition for a lengthy career in Westminster.

“I lived in London for 16 years and I don’t enjoy going there and I don’t enjoy that the majority of my former SNP colleagues don’t speak to me.

“But I would rather stand and fall on a platform of honesty and hope in a future general election than stand on a tissue of lies.”

The SNP has been approached for comment.

Already a subscriber? Sign in