THE Scottish Conservatives have announced they will force a vote on whether to repeal new hate crime laws – forcing Scottish Labour and the LibDems to take a stance on the issue.

The party has opposed the Hate Crime Act since its inception however both Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton’s MSPs backed the legislation as it wound its way through Parliament.

Both have remained quiet on the legislation since it came into force at the beginning of the month, despite a barrage of criticism from the Tories and high-profile figures such as JK Rowling, Elon Musk and Joe Rogan.

The Tories have called on Labour, the LibDems and “the more sensible Nationalists” to back their calls to repeal the legislation.

They said the Hate Crime Act is “taking a huge toll on Scotland’s police officers” despite assurances from Stewart Carle, the general secretary of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, who said the high number of initial reports would not divert officers’ attention from serious crime.

Last week it was revealed that in the law’s first seven days 7152 hate crime reports were made, many of which the Scottish Tories have claimed were “vexatious”.

READ MORE: Top academics debunk viral claims about the Scottish Hate Crime Act

Russell Findlay, the Scottish Conservatives’ justice spokesperson said: “Humza Yousaf’s disastrous hate crime law has caused utter chaos in the fortnight since its introduction.

“It is proving every bit as unworkable as many critics warned – and must be repealed. As well as being an unacceptable risk to free speech, it is taking a huge toll on Scotland’s police officers.

“They're being deluged with thousands of complaints – many of them vexatious from individuals out to settle scores.

“Officer numbers are at their lowest level since 2008, and the police were already turning a blind eye to certain crimes, so this increased workload is completely unsustainable.”

Senior law lecturer Andrew Tickell, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Can it really be Scottish Tory policy that harassing the disabled, assaulting ethnic minorities and daubing antisemitic abuse on synagogues should not be treated in Scots law as aggravated by prejudice?

"Because that's a big part of what repealing the Hate Crime Act would achieve."

The Scottish LibDems have reiterated their support for the law but said it had been poorly communicated and the Government failed to prepare for its implementation. 

Liam McArthur, the party's justice spokesperson, said: “Hate crime can’t be tolerated and our legislation must be clear about that.

“I will be lodging an amendment that challenges the poor communication and preparation that has accompanied the implementation of this law.

“I hope that the government will admit that this has contributed to the confusion and concern that exists. We need this to happen so that Parliament can ensure that hate crime law is applied sensitively, practicably and in a way that fully respects essential freedoms such as expression.”

A spokesperson for the Alba Party said that support for their campaign to repeal the legislation, which has included launching a petition for the law to be scrapped, would "only grow with time".

Their sole MSP Ash Regan was a key supporter of the bill when it was making its way through Parliament in her previous role as community safety minister while a member of the SNP