Nicola Sturgeon’s party has come under fire over Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf’s controversial legislation, which could criminalise free speech in people’s own homes. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill is seeking to extend the law on ‘hate crime’ covering particular characteristics, including religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
If the law is passed by Holyrood, it means that words or behaviour considered to be “abusive” and “likely” to stir up hatred would constitute an offence.
But Tory MP Zac Goldsmith hit back at the legislation saying Mr Yousaf’s actions were almost “unbelievable”.
He posted on Twitter: “This is among the most sinister political developments anywhere in the Western world.
“What Humza Yousaf is doing to Scotland is -almost- unbelievable.”
The legislation has sparked concerns that free speech could be curtailed as a result, prompting the Justice Secretary to announce measures to assuage these doubts.
Following criticism, Mr Yousaf was forced to amend the legislation and change the controversial “stirring up” offences section which has been condemned by opponents.
READ MORE: SNP’s new hate crime law could see people prosecuted
Mr Yousaf told a parliamentary committee: “I’m very actively considering both the breadth and the depth of freedom-of-expression clauses.
“We’re looking at all those issues in the round, I would anticipate some further change around the freedom-of-expression clause probably coming at stage two, be it from members or possibly from the Government, but it is an area under active consideration.”
“We have to be aware of some of the concerns that may be expressed if we were to have a generic freedom-of-expression clause, would that be specific enough to give people the reassurances that they desire?
Express.co.uk has contacted SNP for comment.