Holyrood has rejected a Conservative party motion demanding Scotland’s controversial new hate crime law to be repealed.

SNP and Green MSPs also blocked a Labour call for sex to be added as an aggravator and protected characteristic under the Act.

The legislation came into effect on April 1, sparking an initial deluge of reports. In that first weekm the force received 7,152 complaints. However, there was a “significant reduction” in the second, with 1,832 reports received between April 8 and April 14, down 75%.

Of those 213 hate crimes were recorded, down from 240.

READ MORE: Hate crimes in Scotland decrease in second week of new laws

The debate was at times bad-tempered and personal.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame described the Tory frontbencher Russell Findlay as “self-indulgent, flamboyant and frequently reckless” with “an insatiable appetite for the next tabloid banner headline.”

“That may offend Mr Findlay but I trust he will appreciate that is an example of my right to expression of free speech, which I know he'll defend to the hilt,” he added.

The Tory Shadow Justice Secretary later said he "wholeheartedly” supported the MSP’s “flamboyant attack" on him.

Elsewhere, the SNP’s depute leader, Keith Brown called for calm. He told MSPs he had received six death threats. He said his office manager was in court on Tuesday “trying to take forward a case against somebody who wanted to kill me.”

“The abuse is constant. We all know it's happening. But let's accept some responsibility when we feed the atmosphere because it has real-term consequences.”

Opening the debate, Mr Findlay said the legislation had “transformed Scotland into a place of international mockery” and “transformed the birthplace of the Enlightenment into a place where free speech has been debased and devalued.”

He added: “A place of sinister police billboards instructing people to snitch on those who hurt their feelings, where contentious discussions and disagreements in your own home can result in a knock at the door from the police.

“Every single complaint, no matter how groundless or absurd is subject to police investigation, while disappearing officers are being told not to pursue real crimes. Welcome to Scotland, home of Humza Yousaf’s hate crime law, aka the clypes charter.”

He said that while prosecutions may be unlikely, an investigation would be “daunting, disruptive, humiliating and financially costly” for those reported.

“Police arriving at your home or workplace taken away in handcuffs, phone seized, forced to pay for a lawyer, stigmatising and damaging to personal reputations and employment prospects.”

He said the call to repeal was “about freedom of speech.”

READ MORE: Justice Minister admits Hate Crime information could have been better

Siobhian Brown, the Minister for Victims and Community said the Scottish Government had no intention of scrapping the legislation leaving Scotland “as the only country in the United Kingdom without specific legislation to protect communities from hate crime.”

“We know the impact on those who suffer from hate crime can be traumatic, and it can be life changing, and we want to ensure that we can protect those affected but the Conservatives we have this parliament remove those protections,” she told MSPs.

“This Act does not prevent people expressing controversial, challenging or offensive views, as this has clearly been demonstrated, nor does it seek to stifle criticism or rigorous debate in any way,” Ms Brown added.

She said the Tories wanted the Bill to fail because they “need to justify why they didn't support it in 2021”.

“So they will do everything they can to discredit it, however, but my message to you is it will not work. Legislation that protects people from hatred is not new. It is still needed and the misinformation that has surrounded this Act has been irresponsible.”

Labour's justice spokeswoman, Pauline McNeill, said sex had not been included as a protected characteristic because the Scottish Government had promised to bring forward a standalone Bill on misogyny.

“Three years on, there is still no sign of the legislation which was promised within one year of passing the 2021 Act,” she said.

“So we call on the Scottish Government to reconsider and bring sex as an aggravator now.”

Ms McNeill also urged the Parliament to carry out “urgent” post-legislative scrutiny to look at how the Act was implemented.

She said it had been a "shambles."