Humza Yousaf labelled ‘embarrassing laughing stock’ amid FMQs row | Politics | News

Humza Yousaf was left reeling after the Tories and Labour tore into his leadership on two major issues at First Minister’s Questions.

The Tories’ Douglas Ross led on the ongoing farce surrounding the SNP’s hate crime law, which saw 7,000 reports made to the police in the first week.

Amid warnings from front-line officers that they “can’t cope” with the new workload generated by Mr Yousaf’s pet policy, Mr Ross accused the First Minister of being the only man in Scotland who still believes the act has been a success.

He blasted: “We warned this law was too vague, it was poorly defined, it wouldn’t work.

“Now Scotland’s legal experts have said the same. Alistair Bonnington, hon professor of law at Glasgow Uni, said the law was ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘could see entirely respectable and reasonable citizens prosecuted for expressing viewpoints which the law would allow in almost every country in the world’.

“A recent poll found that over two-thirds of Scots thought his Act should be repealed. Why does Humza Yousaf think that he’s right and the public are wrong?”

Mr Yousaf was barracked when he accused opponents of his Hate Crime Act of being “bad-faith actors”, when two-thirds of Scots oppose the Bill.

He claimed he was merely talking about “the Conservative party, Neo Nazis, those in the far right who were organising and orchestrating complaints to go into Police Scotland. They are by any stretch of the imagination, bad faith actors”.

A passionate Tory leader hit back: “Humza Yousaf is sitting here saying ‘everything is fine’ with his legislation!”

“Just like he did with the ferried he couldn’t get to sail, the trains he couldn’t get to run on time, the NHS waiting lists that grew under his stewardship.

“We warned him all of these problems with the Hate Crime Act would happen, we warned that police would be overwhelmed, the law was poorly written, it would put free speech at risk.

“He dismissed every single valid criticism! Humza Yousaf said he knew best… the only person in Scotland who seems to think this act is working well is Humza Yousaf! How on earth can he say that the Hate Crime Act has been a success?”

MSPs piled in to slam the First Minister, with Murdo Fraser tweeting: “This is just embarrassing, Humza Yousaf shouting in hysterical fashion in the Chamber.

“The clock is ticking down on him and his weak, failing administration, and he knows it.”

Fellow MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston quipped: “Humza Yousaf should have a stand up show at the Fringe. He’s certainly got folk laughing at him at FMQs today”.

On the other side of the Chamber, Mr Yousaf also came under attack from Scottish Labour after it emerged the SNP government is abandoning a key climate pledge.

This morning it was revealed that Scotland is ditching its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030.

Labour leader Anas Sarwar pointed out that when Rishi Sunak rolled back from some of Westminster’s Net Zero targets, the First Minister said he had “no intention of changing the target dates”, accusing Mr Sunak’s decision of being “unforgivable”.

“Today this SNP/Green Government is going to roll back on its climate commitments, so why is Humza Yousaf following the Tories’ lead?”

Mr Yousaf sparked laughter when accusing the claim of being “untrue” and a “mischaracterisation”.

Mr Sarwar hit back: “We voted for your targets! And that was such an embarrassing response”.

“That embarrassing argument might have worked with Patrick Harvey and Lorna Slater, but it’s not working with the Scottish People!”

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