SNP government defeated on football sectarianism act debate
Opposition parties unite to inflict defeat on the SNP over its Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.
The Scottish Government has been urged to repeal its controversial football behaviour law.
In a Scottish Parliament debate last night opposition parties defeated the SNP administration, calling for the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act to be scrapped.
The 2012 law was designed to combat sectarianism at football games, particularly at matches involving Rangers and Celtic, but has been criticised for being poorly written and ineffective.
Sixty-four MSPs backed the Conservative motion to repeal the act “as a matter of urgency”, while 63 voted against.
Tory MSP Douglas Ross, an SFA referee, said: “The 2012 act does not need a substitution—it needs a full-time whistle blown on it.”
Scottish Labour’s James Kelly said the act was “dead in the water”, while Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie tweeted: “The flawed Offensive Behaviour Act has done nothing to solve sectarianism; the repeal process will allow development of coherent policy.”
The Scottish Government rejected what it called attempts to disassociate football with sectarianism.
Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing said: “It is not sensible to look at sectarianism without also considering what happens in 90 minutes on a Saturday in Scotland.”
The vote to repeal, she said, "threatens to set us back as a country in our efforts to effectively combat prejudice, hate crime and sectarianism".
The aims of the Civil Litigation Bill are worthy, but there is the potential for unintended side effects
The SNP conference has called for a new law banning sex for rent in Scotland
Justice Sub-Committee on Policing convener Mary Fee is to join the selection panel representing the Scottish Parliament
British citizens will no longer have legal “rights and remedies” after great repeal bill, warns Dominic Grieve