FORMER Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw has criticised Scotland's universities and colleges after it emerged just two have adopted an international definition of antisemitism.

Mr Carlaw, who is seeking re-election in Holyrood's Eastwood constituency, where there is a large Jewish community, said it was "incredibly disappointing".

He said adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition would send a "clear message".

Mr Carlaw spoke out after receiving a written answer on the issue from SNP further and higher education minister Richard Lochhead.

He had asked Mr Lochhead how many universities and colleges have formally adopted the IHRA definition.

This defines antisemitism as a "certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews" and gives examples.

Responding before Holyrood went into recess, Mr Lochhead said: "The Scottish Government, Universities Scotland, College Development Network and Colleges Scotland are clear that there is no place for antisemitism in further and higher education.

"Universities, as autonomous institutions, are aware of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

"Many are actively and presently consulting within their diverse communities and stakeholder interests on the definition, with two having adopted it to date."

Mr Lochhead said universities and colleges "are also addressing antisemitism through their ongoing engagement with the Scottish Funding Council to address discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race".

The Scottish Government would not say which two institutions have adopted the definition.

Mr Carlaw said: "It’s incredibly disappointing to see only two of Scotland’s further education establishments formally adopt the IHRA definition on antisemitism.

"This widely supported definition is critical in stamping out anti-Jewish sentiments and abuse on Scottish educational campuses.

"All universities and higher education institutions have a responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment and must ensure Jewish students do not face discrimination, harassment, abuse or violence, including online.

"Universities adopting the IHRA definition would send a clear message that antisemitic behaviour will not be tolerated and will be taken seriously."

A spokesman for Universities Scotland said antisemitism "has no place in universities, as it has no place across Scottish society".

He added: "As autonomous bodies, each university have or will consider the definition from IHRA with the seriousness it warrants.

"Universities are acutely aware of their responsibilities to provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for students and staff of all backgrounds.”