A PROMINENT SNP MP has sided with Tory MSP Murdo Fraser after he threatened Police Scotland with legal action over a tweet of his which was logged as a “hate incident”.

Fraser, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife for the Conservatives at Holyrood, had said in a post on Twitter/X in November 2023 that “choosing to identify as ‘non-binary’ is as valid as choosing to identify as a cat”.

The post was reported to the police, who decided that no crime had been committed. However, they logged Fraser’s post as a “non-crime hate incident” – a decision which has sparked fury.

The Tory MSP has claimed, in a six-page letter to Police Scotland, that their recording of the incident is “unlawful” and breaches the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

The National: Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser wrote an article on Taymouth Castle

Fraser (above) wrote: “Police’s Scotland’s current policy on the recording of ‘hate incidents’ is not compliant with UK law and its actions in recording a ‘hate incident’ connected to me is unlawful.

“I therefore require Police Scotland, as a matter of urgency, to make changes to its Hate Crime National Guidance issued in 2021 (HCNG) so that it conforms with UK law and international human rights law and to permanently delete its record of the ‘hate incident’ related to me.”

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According to the force’s HCNG, a hate incident is “any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards a social group but which does not constitute a criminal offence (non-crime incident)”.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, the First Minister said the recording of hate incidents which do not meet the criminal threshold was “important” to understand if there was a rise in hate in Scotland, adding that he has “every confidence” in Police Scotland.

But SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who is also a KC, said she supported Fraser in his threat of legal action.

Writing on social media, Cherry said: “There’s not much Murdo and I agree about, but we do agree about #FreedomOfSpeech so I support him fully in this legal action.

“Police Scotland are well aware that their policy of recording ‘non-crime hate incidents’ needs reviewed.

“This McCarthyism needs to stop.”

Alba MP Neale Hanvey also gave his support to Fraser, writing: “I may disagree with @murdo_fraser on a whole range of issues, but on fundamental ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] freedoms such the right to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to a fair trial I stand shoulder to shoulder with him.

“I’m proud to be a member of the #FreeSpeechUnion and I encourage everyone opposed to @theSNP/@scotgp’s draconian and illiberal Hate Crime Act to join @SpeechUnion and stand together in defence of our fundamental rights and protections.”

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The Hate Crime Act comes into force on April 1 and fears have been raised that it could lead to huge numbers of reports to the police over online communications.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has also backed his MSP, falsely claiming that Fraser’s tweet was recorded as a hate incident because it had been “criticising SNP government policy”.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "On Monday November 20 2023, officers received a report of an offensive tweet. Inquiries were carried out and no criminality was established.

“The incident was recorded as a non-crime hate incident.

“Police Scotland have received a complaint relating to this matter which has been passed to the Professional Standards Department for assessment.

“Hate incidents are not recorded against alleged perpetrators.

“Recording is victim-focused and the process has been part of policing for many years. It helps us monitor tensions within communities enabling appropriate police responses and helps to build community confidence.

“Seemingly low level or minor events can have a significant impact on someone who may already be very vulnerable.”