'Shameful day for Scotland' Fury as SNP bill which 'restricts free speech' approved


The legislation, introduced by the SNP, creates a new criminal offence of “stirring up hatred”. This can be applied to conversations that take place in private homes as well as the public sphere.

Criminal sentencing can be impacted by “aggravated” factors such as prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender identity or sex characteristics.

The law passed on Thursday by 82 votes to 32 with four MSPs abstaining.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf argued the bill is needed to fight hate crime.

However, the Scottish Conservatives described the legislation as a “dangerous threat to freedom of speech”.

Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser tweeted: “A shameful day for Scotland as the Hate Crime Bill passes – a law that will restrict free speech.”

Reform UK MSP Michelle Ballantyne added: “Tonight, I voted against one of the most dangerous Bills in the history of devolution.

“No one has ever argued that hate crimes shouldn’t be punished.

“However a Bill that interferes with our fundamental right to free speech has no place in our society. A shameful day for Scotland.”

READ MORE: Backlash as SNP’s ‘chilling’ hate crime bill passed

Marc Glendening, the think tank’s Head of Cultural Affairs, commented: “The passing of the Scottish government’s Hate Crime Bill is a betrayal of the liberal ideals of the Scottish enlightenment.

“This authoritarian and sinister piece of legislation crosses a Rubicon in making even private conversations potentially criminal.

“In so doing, the Scottish government is entering legal territory that no other supposedly democratic state has ever entertained.

“The Act will also allow the authorities to charge individuals on the basis of statements defined as being ‘abusive by a reasonable person’.

“This is carte blanche to suppress any robustly expressed statement on issues defined by some, subjectively, as matters of great personal sensitivity.”

Recent weeks have seen a sharp fall in support for the SNP and their hope to take Scotland out of the UK.

The party has been rocked by an internal row between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

Earlier this week, a YouGov poll suggested 50 percent of Scots do not want another independence referendum, versus 36 percent who do.

When the undecideds are excluded 51 percent of Scots back the union with 49 percent wanting to leave the UK.



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