SNP candidate Holocaust tweet ‘disgraceful’, anti-Semitism campaigners say

Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter
·2-min read

A tweet from an SNP candidate for Holyrood comparing the actions of Theresa May in rejecting an independence referendum to the actions of Adolf Hitler has been described as “disgraceful” by anti-Semitism campaigners.

Stephanie Callaghan is currently standing to be the MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill, replacing the retiring Richard Lyle, and is sixth on the party’s regional list.

In 2017, Ms Callaghan tweeted about the decision of then prime minister Mrs May to refuse an independence referendum.

First reported in the Scottish Sun, the now deleted tweet said: “Tory propaganda provides a window into future plans: stamp on democracy.

“Hitler did same: set scene 4 Jewish Holocaust to lower opposition.”

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: “There is no comparison between political tensions in the UK today and Nazi Germany’s systematic destruction of democracy and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children.

“Politicians must set an example by learning the lessons of the Holocaust – not diminishing the memory of those innocents who were slaughtered by using the Holocaust to score political points.

“To make such a comparison is disgraceful and wounding, showing incredible ignorance.”

Ms Callaghan apologised “unreservedly” for the tweet, saying: “I have deleted an old tweet which I accept was crass and insensitive, and I apologise unreservedly for posting it.

“It’s wrong to compare the Holocaust to any other political action, because there’s simply no comparison.

“I very much want to learn from that mistake though, and will be seeking to work with groups such as (Scottish Council of Jewish Communities) and the Holocaust Educational Trust.”

Scottish Tory candidate Annie Wells said it is “beyond belief” that Ms Callaghan has not already been removed as a candidate.

She said: “It’s absolutely appalling to compare stopping another referendum to Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s actions.

“What kind of warped mind would think opposing independence is anything like the Holocaust?

“It’s disgusting and completely out of order for someone standing for election.

“An apology won’t cut it for such a vile remark.

“The SNP should have removed this candidate immediately.

“It’s beyond belief that they seem content to keep a candidate who downplays the Holocaust.”

Theresa May (Jane Barlow/PA)
Stephanie Callaghan hit out at Theresa May in 2017 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair and MP Alistair Carmichael said the situation is reminiscent of Neale Hanvey’s suspension from the SNP ahead of the 2019 election. He was re-admitted months later and subsequently defected to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party last week.

Mr Carmichael said: “It seems that the SNP learned nothing from their 2019 experience with Neale Hanvey.

“Suspending a candidate for using anti-Semitic language but then re-admitting him after the election sent all the wrong signals and now they are back in the same situation again.

“Action needs to be taken against this candidate and this time they have to mean it.”