Justice Committee backs Repeal Bill

18.01.2018

A majority of Holyrood's Justice Committee has backed James Kelly MSP’s Bill repealing the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

While strongly condemning sectarian behaviour, the majority of the Committee found that the original Act was flawed, and other existing laws largely capture the behaviours it criminalises.

With a majority of the Committee backing the Bill at this first stage, it will now progress through Parliament, with the possibility of the Bill being amended, before a final Parliamentary debate and binding vote.

Committee Convener Margaret Mitchell MSP, said:

"The Committee heard a wide range of opposing views during our scrutiny of the Bill. We are grateful to the individuals and organisations who shared their views with us.

“Whether the Act is finally repealed or not, the message that came through from the vast majority of witnesses was that this legislation needs to be changed.

“While there is disagreement over the best way to proceed, the Committee is united in its desire to have laws that help the police and prosecutors to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour. However, it is vitally important that our laws actually improve relationships between various groups within society, including law enforcement and sports fans.

“The Bill will now proceed to its next stage, with a majority of Members supporting it.”

The Committee also made a number of other unanimous recommendations that would apply whether or not the Act is repealed. These include an appeal to the Scottish Government to define sectarianism in law and to bring forward amendments to clear up some of the uncertainty if the current Act is kept.

Background

Information including written submissions, briefings, Official Reports and meeting papers are available here.

The Committee's report is available here.

Contact information

Media information

Committee information

Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • [email protected]
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

Keep up to date with us on:

keep up to date with what's happening in Parliament on Facebook Follow the Scottish Parliament on Twitter @ScotParl keep up to date with what's 
happening in Parliament on YouTube

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.