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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live today

    That's all from Holyrood Live today, Thursday 15 March.

    The Scottish Parliament has voted to repeal the country's Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

    James Kelly, police, fans and Labour group

    The legislation was passed by the then-majority SNP government in 2011 in a bid to crack down on sectarianism.

    All four opposition parties at Holyrood voted for it to be scrapped, arguing it has failed to tackle the problem..

    But the Scottish government said doing so would be "foolhardy" and would send out the wrong message.

    The final vote saw 62 MSPs for and 60 against.

  2. Post update

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    Labour colleagues congratulate Mr Kelly
    Image caption: Labour colleagues congratulate Mr Kelly
    Public gallery applauding passage
    Image caption: Public gallery applauding passage
  3. 'MSPs should show the Football Act the red card'

    Mr Kelly

    Mr Kelly says the hate crime legislation review provides an opportunity to make it more effective and efficient, allied to robust existing laws.

    Proper investment in education and communities to tackle sectarianism is also required, he says.

    The Scottish government talks about tackling sectarianism on one hand by cuts budgets with the other, the Labour MSP states.

    The Act has been a "legislative disaster" and "MSPs should show the Football Act the red card," the member concludes.

  4. Background: What is the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act?

    Ranges fans

    The legislation was drawn up by the Scottish government following a summit in March 2011 to discuss the impact of sectarianism on Scottish football and on wider society.

    The summit was called after Celtic manager Neil Lennon and his Rangers counterpart Ally McCoist were involved in a heated touchline confrontation during a match.

    In the previous weeks, "viable parcel bombs" had been sent to Lennon and prominent Celtic supporters Paul McBride QC and MSP Trisha Godman, while bullets were also posted to Lennon and two Celtic players.

    The new law, which came into force in 2012, created two new offences - "offensive behaviour at regulated football matches" and "threatening communications".

    As well as people actually attending matches, the first of these covers people travelling to and from matches, and those watching the match on TV in a pub.

    The "threatening communications" section of the law generally covers online and social media abuse.

  5. 'With weak legislation you have a weak message'

    Labour MSP James Kelly
    Image caption: Labour MSP James Kelly

    Labour MSP James Kelly says he really regrets the fact that some of the speeches from the SNP benches tried to associate the events at the weekend with this attempt to repeal the Act.

    Mr Kellys says the Act has been criticised as a piece of law and could be open to challenge under ECHR.

    "With weak legislation you have a weak message."

    He calls for a proper gown up discussion in how to tackle sectarianism.

  6. Repeal takes away protection from minority communities warns minister

    Annabelle Ewing

    Ms Ewing says she will ensure the £0.5m funding to tackle sectarianism is protected in future budgets.

    On the hate crime legislation review, she commits to considering all recommendations.

    She warns repeal will take away protection from minority communities and send a signal that abusive behaviour is acceptable.

    Who is the greatest priority, fans right to sing offensive songs or protecting communities from hearing them, asks the minister.

  7. Background: How often has the law been used?

    Critics say the legislation has failed to tackle sectarianism and other offensive behaviour at football
    Image caption: Critics say the legislation has failed to tackle sectarianism and other offensive behaviour at football

    In 2016-17, there were 377 charges reported by police to prosecutors under the offensive behaviour at football section of the legislation.

    This was a 32% increase on the 286 charges reported in 2015-16 and the highest number since the bill came into force.

    The increase was largely explained by the 140 charges resulting from disorder at the Scottish Cup Final between Hibs and Rangers at Hampden.

    There were only six charges under the threatening communications part of the legislation in 2016-17, with seven the previous year and four in 2014-15.

  8. 'I can see no positive in repealing the Act without putting a viable alternative in place'

    Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
    Image caption: Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing

    Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing say the government recognises that legislation alone cannot tackle sectarianism and religious hatred.

    Repealing the Act will leave a gap in the law, she says and points to the Crown Office evidence

    She says: "I can see no positive in repealing the Act without putting a viable alternative in place."

    She says £13m has been invested in tackling sectarianism since 2012.

  9. Tory MSP calls for stakeholders to work together to end sectarianism

    Ms Mitchell says it would be confusing to the public to hear the Act has been repealed but section 6 remained in place.

    Moving forward, everyone agrees sectarian behaviour is unacceptable, she says.

    To stamp it out, all stakeholders and parliamentarians must work together, states the Tory MSP.

  10. Tory MSP says Football Act was poorly drafted

    Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell
    Image caption: Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell

    Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell says the Act was poorly drafted.

    Ms Mitchell, who is the convener of the Justice Committee, understandably details some of the more legal issues around the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

  11. Labour MSP says funding for anti-sectarianism projects has been slashed

    Mr Findlay says funding for anti-sectarianism projects has been slashed.

    The Labour MSP commends his colleague James Kelly and his staff for their dilligence and commitment in bringing this Bill to fruition.

    He calls on SNP Ministers and backbenchers to, at this late stage, back Mr Kelly's repeal bill.

  12. Football Act is based in class prejudice says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay
    Image caption: Labour MSP Neil Findlay

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says we must put time, effort and money into tackling the issues which undermine social solidarity.

    He labels the Act as "illiberal", arguing it singles out one group of sports fans and is based on class prejudice.

    The Act has criminalised more young working class man than any other group, the Labour MSP states.

  13. Adam urges MSPs to improve not repeal

    SNP MSP George Adam
    Image caption: SNP MSP George Adam

    SNP MSP George Adam also highlights incidents at the Old Firm game at the weekend and he says the Act protects the majority of fans from this behaviour.

    Mr Adam urges all MSPs to not repeal, but rather make the Act better.