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Prevention and Eradication of Hate Crime and Prejudice

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th November 2016.

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Photo of Annie Wells Annie Wells Conservative

I have just started, so please let me make some progress.

Hate crime is not limited solely to race and nationality. Hate crime comes in many forms, many of which are on the increase and are vastly underreported. As well as those that are racially aggravated, there are hate crimes based on religion, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity and those that are classed under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

I want to ask why the Scottish National Party has become so obsessed with linking hate crime to Brexit, despite Police Scotland reporting that there was no increase in the number of hate crimes reported in Scotland this summer. In fact, the number of hate crimes in Scotland actually fell in the aftermath of the EU referendum. I do not want to undermine in any way the importance of this debate and of race crimes in general. There have been alarming incidences of racially aggravated hate crime reported in my constituency, as well as in other parts of the UK, but it is important to make that point on behalf of the 1 million people in Scotland, and the 17.5 million people in the UK as a whole, who voted to leave the EU. It is dangerous to continually link the Brexit vote to hate crime and it completely undermines those who voted that way.