Sacked SNP frontbencher Neale Hanvey has defended backing a campaign to sue his parliamentary colleague Kirsty Blackman.
The Fife MP, who was previously suspended from the SNP for using anti-Semitic language on social media, lost his role as vaccine spokesman after refusing to apologise to Ms Blackman.
Mr Hanvey posted “speak clear and stay strong” on a crowdfunder page which was raising cash to bring a defamation case against Ms Blackman.
This is utterly shameful. An MP who is on @theSNP's own conduct committee donating to a crowdfunder for someone to sue actor and LGBT+ activist @DavidPaisley and the MP's own parliamentary colleague @KirstySNP https://t.co/Bf2PA3cq1N
— Rob McDowall FRSA 😷 (@robmcd85) February 6, 2021
The row represents a further escalation of the trans rights row that has gripped the SNP in recent months.
Following his sacking, Mr Hanvey posted on social media: “It’s been a long, stressful and tiring day, yet my principles are intact.
“My late mum was a feisty trades union woman and since the 50’s she fearlessly took on misogyny. She will always be my absolute hero. Her values describe where my loyalty rests.”
Ms Blackman, in response to the campaign to sue her, posted: “Should there be any legal costs regarding current events, I will neither ask for, nor accept, financial contributions from SNP coffers.”
Should there be any legal costs regarding current events, I will neither ask for, nor accept, financial contributions from SNP coffers.
— Kirsty Blackman (@KirstySNP) February 6, 2021
An SNP spokesperson said: “Neale Hanvey was given the opportunity to apologise for his actions, which are incompatible with the responsibilities of a frontbench spokesperson, including the requirement for teamwork and collective responsibility.
“He failed to do so and he has been removed from his position.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the debacle shows how “petty” the SNP are, he said: “To blatantly endorse a lawsuit like this just demonstrates how riven and petty the SNP are.
“They were once renowned for their internal discipline, but the infighting is intensifying by the day.
“There are many questions for the leadership of the SNP here and they can’t simply bury their heads in the sand and hope no one notices their silence.”
Mr Hanvey’s sacking comes just days after Joanna Cherry lost her role as home affairs spokeswoman.
Ms Cherry hit back at the move on Friday and described the SNP leadership as ‘Stalinist’.
Ms Cherry had offered support to author and lawyer Sarah Phillimore after she was suspended on Twitter over gender critical posts.
Both women have raised concerns about self-identification proposals for trans people, and warned about the impact on women’s rights.