LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday got here out in assist of ‘Harry Potter’ creator JK Rowling over her stance towards a brand new hate crime regulation enforced by the devolved authorities of Scotland, which she says restricts free speech. The British Indian chief made an announcement in regards to the new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, which got here in pressure on Monday and led Rowling to concern a pointy rebuke on social media warning towards the “risks of eliminating ladies’s and women’ single-sex areas”.
The regulation creates a brand new crime of “stirring up hatred” referring to protected traits.
“Folks shouldn’t be criminalised for stating easy info on biology. We imagine in free speech on this nation, and Conservatives will all the time shield it,” Sunak mentioned in an announcement.
In a collection of social media posts on Monday, Rowling – a vocal defender of girls’s solely areas when being balanced with the rights of transexuals – referenced a number of transgender ladies as males, together with convicted prisoners, trans activists and different public figures. The award-winning Scottish creator, who lives in Edinburgh, then invited police to arrest her in the event that they believed she had dedicated an offence underneath the brand new regulation.
“I am at present in a foreign country, but when what I’ve written right here qualifies as an offence underneath the phrases of the brand new act, I stay up for being arrested after I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment,” writes Rowling on X, previously Twitter.
Rowling, 58, mentioned the members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) who voted for the brand new hate crime legal guidelines had “positioned larger worth on the emotions of males performing their thought of femaleness, nevertheless misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of precise ladies and women”.
Humza Yousaf, the Pakistani-origin First Minister of Scotland who was justice minister within the Scottish Nationwide Occasion (SNP) led authorities when the invoice was handed within the Scottish Parliament Holyrood in 2021, was focused with Islamophobic graffiti close to his dwelling in Dundee within the wake of the brand new regulation being enforced. Nevertheless, he insisted it was a reminder of why such a regulation is required to make sure a “zero-tolerance strategy to hatred”.
Police Scotland is investigating the graffiti and mentioned “inquiries are ongoing”.
In the meantime, a whole bunch gathered exterior the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to protest towards the brand new hate crime regulation for its restrictions on freedom of speech. They waved placards studying: “Reality shouldn’t be hate speech” and “Shield free speech”.
The brand new legal guidelines have been developed following an Unbiased Assessment of Hate Crime Laws, which concluded that new particular offences referring to stirring up hatred have been wanted.


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