Police Scotland and Rangers Football Club (Engagement)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th May 2021.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Although that is important—I get the point that Liam Kerr is trying to make—when I stood here on Friday to take an urgent question, Alex Cole-Hamilton asked me a supplementary question in response to which I made it abundantly clear that gatherings of any kind should not happen. The Government has said it from the daily briefings podium, and we say it in the chamber. The First Minister and I have said that, if it were not for the Covid regulations, we would have been at the Kenmure Street gathering, for example. However, we did not go, because we would not encourage gatherings of any sort because of the public health emergency.

I say genuinely that we did not see thuggish and loutish behaviour in

Kenmure Street. We did not see disorder, protesters punching police officers or protesters urinating in public, and we did not hear anti-Catholic bigotry—nor, indeed, did we hear it at other gatherings.

When it comes to the public health emergency, Liam Kerr is absolutely right that the advice does not distinguish between gatherings. However, let us not think that there is absolute equivalence between the scenes of disorder that we saw at the weekend and what we saw in Pollokshields and some other gatherings over the weekend.

I will continue to do what is important and necessary in the public health interest, and I hope that we can get the support of other parties in that endeavour.