Scottish parliament has to consider legalising incest due to loophole in the devolution agreement

Incest is currently punishable by up to two years in prison

The Scottish government will be forced to consider legalising incest because of a legal quirk.

On Tuesday the parliament’s petition committee will have to consider a request lodged on Scottish government’s e-petition’s site calling for the legalisation of incest where both parties “are consenting adults over the age of 21”.

The petition was submitted by a man named Richard Morris who lives in Australia.

Under the terms of devolution, the Scottish parliament has to consider all petitions if the propose a change in the law. 

In the background information to his petition Mr Morris said the current block on ACI (Adult Consenting Incest) was based on “bigotry”.

He wrote: “Public fears, prejudice and bigotry about ACI are mostly due to ignorance created over many years mostly by the church and church-influenced governments and newspapers, in much the same way as public fears and bigotry about homosexuality were created. 

“In general, societies have a tendency to target isolated individuals and to attack anything perceived to be different as a threat”.

He said the Scottish law on incest was “outdated” as public opinion towards sex and relationship was far more liberal than when it was last reviewed in 1981.

Mr Morris - who will not give evidence to the committee - claims to have written a book about incest and has sent letters to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Queen calling on them to do more to legalise consensual incest. 

But the petition is unlikely to go any further, with Labour MSP Michael McMahon telling Buzzfeed: “I recognise the petition addresses a subject matter that many people find abhorrent. Speaking personally, I take a similar view”.

Incest typically carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison when both parties are consenting adults.