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'Act now, think later' no good enough to tackle sectarianism

November 22, 2011 4:58 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Justice Committee met today to consider amendments to the anti-sectarian legislation but the SNP government showed no signs of listening to the sizable opposition to the Bill.

Alison McInnes MSPAlison McInnes MSPThe Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill now goes onto a vote of the full Scottish Parliament with the SNP currently the only party that supports the legislation.

Today, an SNP MSP even went so far to suggest that if you did not support the legislation then you did not want to solve Scotland's sectarian related problems.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"Today's Stage Two proceedings underline the futility of trying to fix bad legislation through amendments.

"The Scottish Government have refused to offer any concessions on some of the most controversial measures in the Bill - such as the all-encompassing 'other behaviour' clause - and where they have sought to clarify, they have made the Bill even more far-reaching.

"Though the Minister may have been well intentioned in her motives, the new clauses allowing the Government to amend the definition of the new criminal offences by order are both unprecedented and deeply worrying. In its report, the Justice Committee raised concerns about adding further categories of offensive behaviour without detailed consultation. Yet now the Government will be able to do just that, without going through even the cursory consultation that this Bill has had.

"This is simply more evidence of the 'act now, think later' approach that the Government have taken in bulldozing this Bill through Parliament, and we should be very concerned at the implications it could have for all future law-making."