Midlothian South Conservative candidate's vow to repeal the Hate Crime Bill dismissed by SNP candidate
Scottish Conservative candidate Shona Haslam for Midlothian South, Lauderdale and Tweeddale is pledging to repeal the Hate Crime Bill.
Ms Haslam is also backing plans that would seek to amend the law to give women in Midlothian proper protection from hate crime.
Her SNP opponent in the Scottish Parliament election, Christine Grahame, has hit back at her comments.
In March, the Scottish Conservatives were the only party to oppose the Hate Crime Bill. As the law stands, there is no protection for individuals from being prosecuted for what they say in the privacy of their own homes.
Shona Haslam says that the Hate Crime Bill shows the danger of an SNP majority at Holyrood and it is only the Scottish Conservatives who have the strength to stand up to them in Midlothian.
Commenting, Ms Haslam said: “The Hate Crime Bill is a scandalous piece of legislation which offers no protection from prosecution to people in what they say in their own homes.
“Yet the SNP were supported by Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens to pass it. Only the Scottish Conservatives stood against this bill and removed even more extreme elements before it was finally railroaded through.
“If I am elected then I pledge to repeal this bill.
“The passing of the Hate Crime Bill shows the danger of a SNP majority at Holyrood. Only a vote for the Scottish Conservatives in Midlothian can stop an SNP majority and thwart plans for further bad legislation.
“We simply cannot allow the SNP to have unchecked power. This Bill is a terrifying example of what could occur.”
Responding, Ms Grahame said: "It's disgraceful that the Tories are trying to exploit issues of hate crime for political gain - but coming from the same party that is planning a legal challenge to new Holyrood legislation protecting children's rights it should come as no surprise.
"Just from those that are reported, we know an average 18 hate crimes are committed every day in Scotland.
“This from the Tories which introduced the rape clause which means that a woman cannot claim for benefits for more than two children unless she can prove any third or subsequent child resulted from rape.
"The hypocrisy beggars belief.”