Reform UK Scotland Leader and South Scotland MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, has announced that she and her party will fight to repeal the Hate Crime Bill, which was passed in the Scottish Parliament last night.
The controversial Bill, which saw criticism from the groups as diverse as the National Secular Society and the Catholic Church on the grounds that it eroded freedom of speech, was passed by 82 to 32, with 4 MSPs abstaining.
A “dwelling defence” amendment, which would have seen speech in the home protected, was voted down, along with a series of amendments to include sex as a protected category.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“This is one of the most dangerous bills that I have ever seen pass through Holyrood.
“After much criticism from the professional groups that have to enforce and defend this law, such as the Scottish Police Federation and the Law Society of Scotland, the Hate Crime Bill has passed.
“This law will now bring a staggeringly loose definition of hate crime into the home and it is no exaggeration to say that dinner table conversation may now be criminalised.
“This is a horrifying overreach by the SNP. People shouldn’t be afraid to express potentially controversial opinions in public, let alone in their own homes.
“Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf was quick to pat himself on the back and say that he had amended the Bill to protect free speech and that at-home prosecutions were unlikely, but this misses the point. Mere accusations of hate crime are now a social death-sentence and this Bill will only encourage vexatious claims.
“Many of my constituents are deeply concerned about the effects of this law and I am going to stand up for their right to free speech.
“This is why I am pledging, as Leader of Reform UK Scotland, to fight to repeal this appalling piece of hate crime legislation and make Scotland a country where ideas can be discussed freely both in public and in private.”