HUMZA Yousaf has hit out at a Daily Mail journalist for spreading misinformation about the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime Bill.

The Justice Secretary criticised the Scottish Daily Mail's home affairs editor, Graham Grant, for defending controversial blogger David Vance.

Vance tweeted: "oh dear @HumzaYousaf. The Scottish Legal Profession sees through your tyrannical lunacy."

Yousaf called Vance a "numpty" and said he is "desperate to avoid any measure that curtails [his] bigotry".

He tweeted: "Where there are genuine concerns raised about implications of Hate Crime Bill, I will engage stakeholders & opposition. But let's not be blind to the fact huge swathes of extreme right-wing, like the numpty below, are desperate to avoid any measure that curtails their bigotry."

Grant condemned Yousaf for using the term "numpty", saying: "Humza branding critics of a hate crime law ‘numpties’ sets the tone for a grown-up debate..."

But Yousaf hit back, saying he was only referring to Vance, in a tweet that included screenshots of Vance's past tweets about Islam where he refers to the religion as "violent" and blames Muslims for rising anti-Semitism in the UK.

Yousaf said: "This is lie, I branded David Vance a numpty (trust me that's the nicest thing I could have said). I don't expect much from the Daily Mail but I am astounded @GrahamGGrant  has rushed to Vance's defence (and it has been RT-ed by Tory MSPs). A real poor misjudgement."

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill will add age to the list of protected characteristics and decriminalise blasphemy.

It will also create an offence of “stirring up hatred” against a protected group, expanding on existing laws protecting racial groups.

Under the new legislation, the Scottish Government will be able to add sex to the list of protected characteristics by regulation, should it be deemed necessary in the future.

The Scottish Police Federation has suggested such laws could lead to police officers determining free speech and thereby devastate the legitimacy of the police service.

READ MORE: Hate Crime Bill: Scottish Police Federation launches fierce attack