JUSTICE Secretary Humza Yousaf told men to be “allies” and not “bystanders” in the war against misogyny yesterday, as he announced new plans which could widen the scope of Scotland’s hate crime laws.

Speaking at the SNP’s party conference in Glasgow, Yousaf told the men in the room“to stand up and be counted in the fight against misogyny”.

“If we are simply passive then we are part of the problem,” he added.

The minister explained that with misogyny “so ingrained, so normalised within our society,” it needs “radical action”.

He told the conference that the Scottish Government’s consultation on hate crime will now ask a “specific question on whether to make hate motivated by misogynistic harassment an offence, just as hate based on religion and race is.”

“We will send a signal that Scotland has zero tolerance for hatred directed to women,” he promised.

The Government are set to consult on recommendations made by top judge, Lord Bracadale, earlier this year.

The law chief spearheaded an independent review into hate crime in Scotland and how legislation could curb offences.

In his report, published at the end of May, Bracadale said offences motivated by hostility to a person’s gender should be considered hate crimes, and recommended extending the list of statutory aggravations to include the sex of victims.

Bracadale also called for the repeal of the current racial harassment law to allow all hate crime legislation to be combined in a single act.

At the time he said: “I noted there has been an increase in the harassment and abuse of women both in the physical world and online.

“And there has been a cultural shift in the sense that women are not now prepared to tolerate behaviour that they might have put up with in the past.”

He added that stirring up hatred is a “serious and insidious crime”.

In a statement released after his speech, Yousaf said the Scottish Government had an “open mind on the best way to address behaviour motivated by misogyny, including the possibility of new criminal law measures.”

He added: “The consultation will be launched in November and will seek views on a number of options, including an aggravation based on gender hostility as proposed by Lord Bracadale.

“But we will also ask whether, separately, a specific offence targeting misogynistic behaviour could be an effective step in addressing this form of behaviour and the damage it does.”

Meanwhile, the SNP conference backed a motion calling on the UK Government to give victims of domestic abuse the right to paid leave from work in order to secure safe accommodation.

It follows a similar measure introduced in New Zealand, which lets employees fleeing abusive partners take 10 days paid leave from work, separate from annual leave and sick leave entitlements.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “If the UK Government are unwilling to introduce a similar right, they should devolve powers over employment so we can take this step ourselves.”

The most recent figures show that there were 58,810 incidents of domestic abuse recorded in Scotland in 2016-17.