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Ross urges local MSPs to back scrapping of ‘dangerous’ Hate Crime Act

By Alan Beresford

Moray MP and Highlands and Islands MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP and Highlands and Islands MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

MORAY MP Douglas Ross has urged local MSPs to back Scottish Conservative calls to scrap the “dangerous” Hate Crime Act.

The party will use parliamentary time tomorrow (Wednesday) asking MSPs of all parties to join them and urging the SNP to repeal the legislation, which was passed in 2021.

The legislation which was brought forward by the now First Minister Humza Yousaf when he was justice secretary was backed by Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Green MSPs, with only Scottish Conservative MSPs opposing the law.

Despite being passed three years ago, the legislation only began to be enforced as of April 1 this year.

Mr Ross said that the first two weeks have shown the concerns that the Scottish Conservatives repeatedly raised in 2021 are bearing out in reality, with police being swamped by complaints, many of which are proving to be vexatious.

He added that this is putting an “intolerable strain” on local officers, who are already doing their job with “one hand tied behind their backs” due to cuts to the police budget.

Mr Ross – who is also a Highlands and Islands MSP – has urged local MSPs who voted for the legislation in 2021 – including Moray SNP MSP Richard Lochhead – to vote to consign the Hate Crime Act to history.

The MP said: “Humza Yousaf’s flawed and dangerous Hate Crime Act is proving completely unworkable, only two weeks after it came into force on April Fool’s Day.

“However, this law is no joke and is already having a chilling effect on free speech. The Scottish Conservatives were the only party to oppose Humza Yousaf’s law in 2021 and the concerns we repeatedly raised at that time are now occurring every single day.

“Police officers – who are already doing their job with one hand tied behind their backs due to savage SNP cuts – are being swamped by a deluge of complaints, many of which are proving to be vexatious.

“That is putting an intolerable strain on officers who would rather be out keeping our communities safe and investigating crimes.

“The Scottish Conservatives are determined to see this unworkable legislation scrapped which is why we are forcing a vote on it this week in the Scottish Parliament.

“I urge MSPs from all sides – including Moray’s SNP MSP Richard Lochhead who voted for it in 2021 – to accept they got this wrong and join the Scottish Conservatives and ensure this act is binned once and for all.”

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