AN SNP MSP who spearheaded a campaign to combat sectarianism is giving up his fight, blaming a lack of will and fellow politicians “being too scared to get involved”.

James Dornan dropped a bid to become SNP deputy leader to focus on addressing the problem and last year launched proposals for a crackdown on disorder and sectarian behaviour at football matches.

But writing in The Sunday National today, he says he is giving up his convenorship of the Holyrood cross-party group he set up to combat sectarianism and attacked politicians, the media and the sport of football for failing to tackle the issue.

He says: “Far too many people in Scottish society appear to be invested in ‘one side or another’ and are either comfortable with, or uncomfortable in taking on sectarianism, including the media,” he added.

Dornan describes the abuse he has received but says he would have continued to put up with the attacks had he believed there was a will to deal with the problem.

READ MORE: James Dornan: no-one cares enough to stop sectarianism

He criticises “a media, football clubs and authorities complicit in the continuation of sectarian abuse and politicians too scared to get involved.’’

Dornan last year unveiled plans for a members’ bill to introduce a licensing system for football grounds. Under his proposals, sanctions ranged from fines and playing games behind closed doors to ground closures.

He now says he hopes the Scottish Government will bring forward legislation Holyrood can rally round.

Trouble broke out in Glasgow streets last summer, leading the city council to ban six marches by loyalist and republican groups.

That followed disturbances at parades in the city over the previous two weekends, with police responding to “significant disorder” at a march in Govan on August 30.

The following weekend, 11 people were arrested as two republican marches were held through Glasgow city centre, with a police officer injured by a firework thrown by loyalist protesters.

Dave Scott, director of anti-

sectarian group Nil By Mouth, said: “It’s obviously very disappointing that James Dornan no longer feels able to convene the cross-party group on combatting sectarianism.

‘‘This is a complex and emotive issue which if you speak publicly on you’re certain to encounter kickback from those who don’t share your views.”

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He added: “Politicians aren’t shrinking violets, so the fact one feels public discourse on sectarianism is too polarised and too many groups are unwilling to show leadership should be a wake-up call to the rest of us.

‘‘This problem isn’t going to be solved by laws passed by any political party, but by genuine debate and face-to-face encounters between groups with differing views. Politicians can though show leadership by creating the environment where we can have genuine and worthwhile dialogue on the issue.”

An SFA spokesman said it was not correct to say that football was not interested in combatting sectarianism.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I thank Mr Dornan for the work he has done to raise awareness of the dangers of sectarianism in our society.

“Sectarian hatred is completely and utterly unacceptable to the Scottish Government and the vast majority of Scots. I remain determined to ensure that any instances of antiquated bigotry are eradicated from modern Scotland, and support Police Scotland in taking appropriate and proportionate action to safeguard public safety.

“Scotland is a diverse, multicultural and multi-faith society where we are fully committed to tackling all forms of bigotry and prejudice, including sectarianism which is why the Scottish Government has invested more than £14 million over the last 12 years to support over 100 anti-sectarianism projects.

No-one from Celtic or Rangers football clubs returned the Sunday National’s calls.