Ayr's MSP has defended the Scottish Government's new hate crimes law - after Police Scotland received 3,000 complaints in a matter of days.

A large number of them were regarding a speech made by First Minister Humza Yousaf back in 2020, when he highlighted white people in prominent roles. 

Community safety minister Siobhian Brown defended the new law on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland show this morning.

She also revealed that a "fake complaint" was made using her name and contact details on Monday.

Ms Brown, who represents Ayr, Prestwick and Troon, told the programme that people were making "fake and vexatious complaints".

Police Scotland said complaints about Mr Yousaf's speech were assessed at the time, with no crime committed and no action taken.

The new law will not apply retrospectively.

The force's contact, command and control centres are handling the complaints under the new law. They said they had been extremely busy but were coping with the number of complaints

Ms Brown told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that "misinformation" and publicity had led to the high number of reports.

She also confirmed that a "fake complaint" was made using her name and contact details on Monday.

Police say that to be regarded as a potential crime under the new legislation, the statement made has to be "threatening or abusive with the intent to stir up hatred towards an individual" which would cause them to have fear or alarm.

Ms Brown described it as a "very, very high threshold for criminality".

The MSP continued: "We've been very clear within the Act. This is not about restricting freedom of expression, it is to protect."

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 covers age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex and the maximum penalty is seven years in prison.

Stirring up hatred based on race was already illegal under the UK Public Order Act. 

In a series of inflammatory posts this week, Harry Potter author JK Rowling described several transgender women as men, including prisoners, trans activists and other public figures - and dared police to arrest her.

Police said the writer's comments did not breach the new legislation.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser told BBC Radio Scotland: "Police time is being taken up looking at which might well be vexatious complaints.

"The way the police in Scotland have been messaging this, actively encouraging complaints, has led to this deluge, every one one of which they have said they will investigate.

"I'll be surprised if any of these complaints end up with a prosecution."