SCOTTISH Green MSP Ross Greer has said the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Act has not made it illegal to “be an asshole”.

The legislation came into force last week in Scotland, with Police confirming they received 7152 complaints in the first week of the operation.

It consolidated previous hate crime legislation and created a new offence of stirring up hatred against certain protected characteristics.

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

Many have taken to social media to criticise the bill, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who made a number of posts on the first day the law was in force misgendering a number of trans people.

She said she was “looking forward to being arrested” although police did not take any action against the writer.

Speaking to the BBC Podlitical podcast, Greer (below) said it had not been made illegal to be unpleasant or offensive.

The National: Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer in the Scottish Parliament

“It’s not illegal to be an asshole now,” he said.

“It was not illegal to be an asshole before and for the last week it has still not been illegal to be an asshole.”

But he added: “That doesn’t mean that you should be.”

Greer stressed that he was not specifically referring to the Harry Potter author, but was making a generalisation.

He continued: “Just because it is still legal to be offensive doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to be offensive.

“There are plenty of things that it’s not illegal to do, but that in a decent society we don’t generally encourage people to do.

“We should all be trying to be as pleasant and decent to each other as possible, whether the law allow for it or not.

“I think as a society we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the criminal law.

“If the highest standard we can set for ourselves and each other is the criminal law – that’s an abysmally low standard.”