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FMQs: Yousaf’s ‘head in the sand’ over disastrous Hate Crime Act

Humza Yousaf has his “head in the sand” over the failure of his disastrous Hate Crime Act, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross highlighted that the act puts free speech at risk and had already left the police overwhelmed with complaints, due to the confusion caused by its vague definitions.

The Scottish Conservative leader cited comments from Calum Steele, general secretary of the International Council of Police Representative Associations, who said: “Police officers have been left embarrassed by the hate crime farce, with some left so angry they have told me they have never been more ashamed of being in the police service than they are at this moment”.

He also quoted Lord Hope, formerly a Supreme Court justice and Scotland’s most senior judge, who said that the act has “misfired” and described it as “unworkable”. He called for it to be repealed.

In response, Humza Yousaf claimed that the law had caused minimal impact on frontline policing and that “bad-faith actors” were responsible for vexatious complaints under it.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “Humza Yousaf has his head in the sand over his disastrous Hate Crime Act.

“Despite the mounting evidence that this law is unworkable, Humza Yousaf is insisting everything is going well, just like he did with the ferries he couldn’t get to float, the trains he couldn’t get to run on time and the NHS waiting lists that grew on his watch.

“We warned him all of the problems with the Hate Crime Act would happen, but he dismissed valid criticism and still won’t accept he got this badly wrong.

“Now the police, legal experts and the public are telling him that he has got this badly wrong.

“The only person in Scotland who seems to think this act is working well is Humza Yousaf.

“It’s incredible that Humza Yousaf still believes his Hate Crime Act has been a success when it’s unravelling right in front of us.”