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Religious Liberty

Protect Free Speech in Scotland

UPDATE 11 March 2021: MSPs have voted for the Hate Crime Bill by 82-32, with four abstentions. Thank you to all of you who visited this page and raised free speech concerns with your MSPs. Find out how they voted and it would be good to follow up with your MSPs either to thank them for voting the way you asked them to, or thanking them for engaging with your concerns.

The Scottish Government's Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill aims to repeal ancient blasphemy laws and adds to the list of groups that are currently specifically protected by hate crime laws. The Bill also creates a new offence of stirring up hatred.

What’s happened so far?

Please con­tact all your MSPs ahead of Stage 3 on 10 March

The final stage of scrutiny at Stage 3 will take place on 10 March. This is the last opportunity to make changes to the legislation to protect free speech in Scotland.

Please email your MSPs and ask them to vote in favour of strong free speech protections to make sure people in Scotland continue to have the right to express their beliefs.

We also suggest asking your MSPs to do the following:

  • ask your MSPs to ensure that the stirring up offences are withdrawn or at minimum, amended to narrow their scope.
  • ensure that the provisions in the bill are precise and narrow so that they do not invite broad interpretations.
  • ensure a clear and comprehensive protection of freedom of speech to neutralise the negative effects of the stirring up offences. The current protections do not go far enough to ensure that freedom of speech is preserved. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. If it is not, the Bill must be voted off.
  • ensure that a dwelling defence to protect the right to family life and privacy is included in the Bill. The lack of such dwelling defence will mean criminalisation of private conversations.

If the above issues are not addressed, ask them to vote the Bill down.

Write to your elected representative

Simply put your postcode in and you'll be redirected to the Write to Them website. You'll quickly find your MSPs listed and by clicking their names, you'll be able to email them.

Filling in this form will direct you to an external service

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