Labour MSP “Scrap the Act” Campaign Could Upset the Government

By Shaw Rooney

MSP James Kelly will today official lodge a Members’ Bill to repeal the much-maligned Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

The move comes after a 64 to 63 vote earlier this month that the Scottish Government lost in an historic win as parties linked up in order to see the Tory motion for repeal pass.

Parties united to condemn the Act, which has come under fire on several occasions due to the nature within it which criminalises offensive and threatening behavior, including sectarian behaviour related to football matches and any communications containing threats or incitement to religious hatred.

In 2012 the SNP used its then majority in the last Scottish Government to pass the bill, which many of the other parties voted against the first time around.

The lose earlier this month was seen as a symbolic win as it showed the shifting of power at Holyrood compared to 2012.

A spokesman for the Government said on the matter: “Not one viable alternative to dealing with the unacceptable scenes of violence and abuse we continue to see at matches has been put forward in the entire debate around this law.

“As we have repeatedly said, we are absolutely willing to talk about how the law could be improved but with no alternative to deal with those who use football to spread hatred and abuse, those opposing the Act are turning a blind eye to the sickening scenes we continue to see at games and telling us we have no right to expect fans to behave any better.”

With a loss already on the board for the Scottish Government relating to the act, it is to be seen if this will be the final nail in the coffin for the Offensive Behavior at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

Photo Credit: Colin Smith

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