SNP accused of ‘divisive politics’ after using Palestinian flag in leaflet

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon also pictured in leaflet


SNP candidate David Linden (left) alongside campaigning in Glasgow with former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (right). Credit: TikTok/ snp.safi

A Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate has come under fire over his use of the Palestinian flag in a some campaign material.

David Linden, who is standing for re-election in Glasgow East, was pictured on social media canvassing voters outside the Al Farooq Mosque and handing out a leaflet with a photo of him running the London Marathon for Islamic Relief UK’s Gaza appeal. The leaflet opened up into a Palestinian flag with the party’s branding, and a call to vote for him alongside the caption “standing up for Palestine and our community”.

He was pictured campaigning alongside former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who, in a video posted to X, said Linden would “stand up and be counted” on the issue of Gaza. She said that he had advocated for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, for recognition of a Palestinian state and for a suspension of arms sales to Israel.

Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland secretary and Conservative candidate for Chipping Barnet, said the use of the Palestinian flag in electoral literature was “completely inappropriate”.

She told the JC that, “the SNP have taken an entirely unfair and disproportionate approach to the Gaza situation. Now they are compounding that by using the Palestinian flag in their leaflets. They should start listening to the other side of the argument. Israel deserves our support in defending itself after a horrific terrorist attack.”

Andrew Percy, the Jewish Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole between 2010-2024, who is standing down at the upcoming election, told the JC that, "sectarian divisive politics should have no place in elections in this country and that is clearly what behaviour such as this risks. Sadly, it is par for the course for nationalist parties the world over.”

He added that, “worse still, it is appalling for any political party to try to make electoral gains out of the appalling tragedy that is the middle east conflict, especially when the current conflict arose following the rape of countless Jewish women on October 7th and following the worst murder of Jews since the Holocaust. The SNP have truly sunk to a new low.”

The SNP are not the only party to use the Palestinian flag as part of their electoral literature.

Last month, the JC revealed that Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer had used the Palestinian flag and images of destruction in Gaza as part of her campaign against Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol Central. She was accused of “stirring division” by former Jewish Labour MP Louise Ellman.

The SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, and Candidate for Argyll, Bute, and South Lochaber, Brendan O’Hara told the JC that, “following the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7th and the subsequent siege and bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces, SNP MPs have led calls in the UK Parliament for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, for an influx of humanitarian aid and for the immediate release of all hostages. SNP MPs will continue to press for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the conflict which has resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

He added that, “as part of the path to peace, the SNP is calling for the recognition of the state of Palestine, the halting arms sales, the release of hostages held by Hamas and an immediate ceasefire. We believe all of these steps are essential if are to achieve progress towards a two-state solution and achieve a lasting peace between the Israeli and the Palestinian people."

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