15th December 2020
We wrote directly to every MSP, in advance of the Bill’s Stage 1 debate in Holyrood, to highlight our concerns about why the Scottish government’s proposed Hate Crime Bill such a threat to free speech.
We believe the new offence of ‘stirring up hatred’ is defined so vaguely it’s open to wide misinterpretation and potential abuse. Every attempt by the Justice Secretary to clarify or amend it has added to the confusion. Each time concerns have been raised, he has fiercely defended his Bill, only to be forced to amend it. This contributes to a sense the whole exercise was badly thought through from the start. But he hasn’t solved the biggest problem of all. The biggest fear is allegations of hate crime will be used to silence opponents. We’re told this is a baseless fear. Yet accusations of ‘hate’ are already being used to try to restrict debate, and the lengths some will go to are sometimes extraordinary.
You can read our full briefing in the Submission section of the Campaigns page.