Rishi Sunak: ‘People should not be criminalised for upholding biological sex’

The Prime Minister has emphasised that people “should not be criminalised for stating simple facts on biology” amid a barrage of criticism of Scotland’s new hate crime law.

Rishi Sunak made the comments in defence of JK Rowling, who successfully pushed Police Scotland to confirm that her tweets on the “accurate description of biological sex” were “not assessed to be criminal” and will not be recorded as a non-crime hate incident.

Welcoming the news, the Harry Potter author said: “I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women – irrespective of profile or financial means – will be treated equally under the law.”

‘Chilling effect’

Although significant amendments were made to the Hate Crime and Public Order Act to reduce its impact on free speech, the proposals remain highly controversial.

Former SNP Minister Ash Regan, who voted for the legislation, claimed she was misled over its potential impact on gender-critical feminists.

I must now side with those who call for repeal. Ash Regan

Writing in The Times, she said: “A chilling effect occurs when the fear of police action stops a person from freely expressing a view. It’s ‘cancel culture’ before you even dare speak or write.

“We are witnessing comedians, social commentators, and the public eviscerating the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act across international, domestic and social media. I must now side with those who call for repeal. The chilling effect has begun”.

Police worries

Ahead of the controversial legislation coming into effect earlier this week, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) warned that officers risked being drawn into “ill-tempered, abusive spats” between ‘fringe activists’.

Chief Superintendent and ASPS President Rob Hay told Holyrood’s Justice Committee that “public discourse on many controversial topics has descended into deeply polarised, entrenched positions” and warned that activists would “seek to ‘weaponise’ the new legislation and associated police investigation”.

He said Police Scotland “must focus on those crimes and offences that cause the most harm and represent the highest risk to public safety. Should this new legislation result in a sustained increase in reported incidents, this will only be made harder, especially if those reports are spurious or misunderstand the extent of the legislation.”

Also see:

SNP hate crime law faces barrage of criticism

Irish Govt pledges to amend hate crime Bill after ‘listening to concerns’

Former CPS Director: ‘We don’t create thought crimes in this country’

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