TWO Scottish MPs are trying to stop a controversial change to Holyrood’s security status making demonstrators liable to prosecution.

Alba’s Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill have tabled a motion to annul the Westminster legislation behind the move, which critics say is a risk to protests outside Holyrood.  

Mr Hanvey today addressed a rally outside the Scottish Parliament against the change, which is due to come into effect from October 1.

“To attack fundamental rights and freedoms is unacceptable,” he said. 

Holyrood’s cross-party management group, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), decided in June to get the building and its grounds the same security status as Westminster, royal palaces and military sites such as Faslane submarine base.

It asked the Home Office to make Holyrood a “designated site” on national security grounds, and an order was laid in the Commons last week under serious crime law.

It means that from next month it will be an offence to be on the parliamentary estate “without lawful authority”, potentially punishable by a year in jail or a £5000 fine on conviction.

The SPCB insists most demos will go ahead as before, with police only removing particularly disruptive people in “a small number of the most exceptional circumstances”.

However the Scottish Greens and Alba want the measure be dropped.

The Alba MPs are now seeking to have to have the Commons order  stopped and are seeking a debate and parliamentary vote on the issue.

Mr Hanvey said: “There is growing anger at the prospect of peaceful protestors being removed from the grounds of the Scottish Parliament under threat of criminal prosecution.  

“This attempt by the SPCB to limit the right to peaceful protest in the wider Scottish Parliamentary Estate and to attack fundamental rights and freedoms is unacceptable. 

“The SPCB has sought to do this by making a request to the Home Secretary in Whitehall who has no jurisdiction over the criminal justice system in Scotland

“I am determined to do everything possible to stop these draconian powers from coming into force.

"That is why, along with my colleague Kenny MacAskill, I have tabled a motion to annul and effectively repeal the Order laid by the Home Secretary Priti Patel which would bring these powers into effect.  

"This should be an issue which concerns every single Scottish MP. There is absolutely no impediment to SNP MPs signing this motion as their party conference has voted for a motion expressing concern at this move and urging Parliamentarians to call for this Order to be withdrawn. 

“The right to peaceful protest must be protected.  

"Therefore I urge all of my Parliamentary colleagues to get behind our effort to have this issue debated and voted on in the House of Commons”.

A Holyrood spokesperson said: “The Parliament welcomes and facilitates thousands of protestors all year round as an essential part of the expression of democracy in Scotland.

"That key engagement will continue.

"The motion to annul the order is a procedural matter for Westminster.”