Football Act ‘should be binned’

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Scotland can’t “arrest its way out of sectarianism,” according to Central Scotland Conservative list MSP Margaret Mitchell.

She has joined Labour opposition calls for a repeal of the “deeply flawed” Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

Ms Mitchell said: “It is deeply depressing that in Scotland today, sectarian divisions continue in some local communities.

“This frequently manifests itself as so called sectarian ‘banter’ or as terms of abuse, intimidation and harassment which can, at the extreme end of the spectrum, develop into violence.”

But she said the Football Act should be repealed, because existing laws “which do no not vilify certain sections of society” could “easily” be used to greater effect.

She added that community activity – and initiatives such as the programme run by the Citizen’s Theatre – was the way to overcome sectarianism.