Humza Yousaf has been urged to lift the ScotRail booze ban in time for Christmas, with a Conservative MSP claiming the measure penalises “law-abiding Scots.” penalised.

The First Minister told parliament that a final decision was still to be made on the issue, but that he was very aware of the need to ensure passengers felt safe and the role drink played in anti-social behaviour.

READ MORE: Scotland trains: Storm Debi causes delays and disruption

The strict rule forbidding alcohol was brought in at the start of the Covid pandemic in a bid to keep travellers socially distant.

Previously, passengers could drink before 9pm and were able to buy beer, wine and spirits on most mainline trains.

Tory MSP Douglas Lumsden asked the First Minister to provide an update on the future of the policy during First Minister’s Questions.

Mr Yousaf replied: "Firstly, I should acknowledge that there are quite a wide range of views on this very issue.

“My priority is ensuring that ScotRail services are safe, are enjoyable for all users and staff. But specifically, women and girls where we know of the role that alcohol often plays in making women feel unsafe.”

He said the Transport Minister had asked officials at Transport Scotland to engage with the British Transport Police and the national train company “to ensure that all views on continuing the alcohol ban on ScotRail trains are given due consideration and all impacts are indeed assessed.”

The SNP leader said trade union leaders had also been approached.

READ MORE: 'Magical' Scottish railway line needs train drivers

Mr Lumsden said the ban was already being ignored by trouble makers.

He told MSPs: "It's now three years since alcohol was banned on ScotRail trains as a Covid precaution measure. ScotRail and British Transport Police have both told me the ban is unworkable.

"People who indulge in anti-social behaviour are ignoring the ban and drinking anyway.

"It's the law-abiding Scots who are being penalised. So, First Minister, is it not time the SNP showed some trust in the Scottish public and scrapped this draconian rule and get more people back on the trains, especially during the upcoming Christmas period?"

Mr Yousaf replied: "A couple of things I would say to Douglas Lumsden, as I do appreciate there's a wide variety of views on this and that's exactly why the Transport Minister has asked for a whole variety of stakeholders to be engaged.

"I've mentioned some of those stakeholders already, in terms of British Transport Police, Transport Scotland, ScotRail, trade unions, and others. Now I would say to Douglas Lumsden, we will give appropriate weight to those stakeholders