MSPS have voted to push ahead with controversial hate crime legislation. 

The Scottish Conservatives had argued the SNP Government's Hate Crime Bill should be withdrawn as it is too flawed to fix. 

However Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf won support after saying he is prepared to make changes and compromise.

He acknowledged there are "legitimate concerns" about the Bill which will be addressed in the coming months.

Critics say the legislation risks stifling freedom of speech and criminalising a "mere insult".

It seeks to update the characteristics protected in law from hate crimes and introduce offences for behaviour likely to "stir up" hatred, whether this was done intentionally or not. This would expand on existing laws protecting racial groups.

Scottish Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: “There is consensus that we need legislation to tackle hate crime in Scotland but it’s extremely disappointing that the parliament could not find similar consensus to support freedom of speech.

“As drafted, the SNP’s Hate Crime Bill threatens our fundamental right to free speech, as dozens of organisations made clear in the avalanche of criticism that the committee received on this Bill."

He added: “It is clear from today’s vote that only the Scottish Conservatives can be trusted to stand up every time for the right to freedom of speech. 

"We will consider all avenues going forward to address the serious concerns and flaws with the legislation.”

The Scottish Conservatives had put forward a motion calling for the legislation to be withdrawn, but an amendment from the Government pledging to find "compromise to ensure that effective legislation can be agreed" was passed by 58 votes to 55, with six abstentions.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “The Hate Crime Bill evidently needs an overhaul.

“The Justice Secretary was right to concede to bring forward changes that the Justice Committee can consider as part of their evidence, in line with my amendment today. Now it is over to him.

“Unless we see those proposals in the coming weeks, this is not a Bill that Scottish Liberal Democrats can support.”