SNP block Green moves to improve flawed Sectarianism Bill

For immediate release 22 November 2011

Green MSP Patrick Harvie today proposed a series of amendments at the Stage 2 consideration of the SNP's legislation on sectarianism and other hate crime, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill, all of which were voted down by the Justice Committee's SNP majority. The Scottish Greens remain opposed to the legislation, but, given the government's overall majority, the Green MSPs' priority will be to seek support across Parliament at Stage 3 to improve the Bill as far as possible and eliminate its most obvious flaws.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"I'm still not convinced that this bill can be fixed - its flaws are too deep. This morning's steamroller exercise confirms that SNP Ministers are stubbornly determined to force it through in the teeth of consistent and reasoned opposition from all quarters, inside and outside Parliament. Parliament as a whole will have one more chance to address some of the most obvious problems with it, and I hope colleagues in other parties will be ready to discuss how to achieve that before the legislation's final stage.

"It's disappointing that other opposition parties aren't making more of an effort to improve the bill - not a single amendment was lodged in advance by either Labour or the Lib Dems, who sat on their hands when every amendment was moved. There are such widespread criticisms of this bill that a wider attempt to deal with its roughest edges would have been welcome."

The amendments lodged by Patrick Harvie sought to: