Clock is ticking for Justice Secretary to address concerns over Hate Crime Bill

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has secured further assurances from the Justice Secretary that changes to controversial ‘stirring up’ provisions of the proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill will be published shortly to allow proper scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee.

During Justice Questions this afternoon, Mr McArthur pressed the Cabinet Secretary for more details on the timing of any announcement, following an earlier commitment given by Mr Yousaf in response to calls from the Scottish Liberal Democrats for ‘urgent and radical action’.  

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“The provisions of this Bill relating to ‘stirring up’ offences have led to serious, widespread and legitimate concerns about the impact on freedom of expression.

“The Justice Secretary insists he hears those concerns and is ready to act. However, parliament’s Justice Committee will need time to properly scrutinise and proposed changes.

“Whether Mr Yousaf’s proposals go far enough in addressing the concerns that have been raised remains to be seen, but I welcome the commitment to update parliament in the coming days”.

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