SNP backbench MSPs often get criticism for lack of scrutiny when they sit on the Holyrood committees.

Well, this week three of them tried to give it a right good go and got stuck in to a piece of proposed legislation.

The only problem is, it wasn’t a government minister or government bill they were scrutinising but a Labour MSP and his bid to scrap SNP Government legislation.

George Adam, Fulton McGregor and Mairi Gougeon lined up to have a go at bringing down James Kelly and his attempt to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

Perhaps if they or their predecessors when the act was proposed were as vocal and challenging then the act wouldn’t be getting as much criticism as it does.

Then again, given the level of so called scrutiny that was attempted this week it would’ve still sailed through Parliament.

Their efforts led by Mr Adam appeared to centre on whether or not Mr Kelly thought certain songs were offensive ‘Roll of Honour’ and the ‘Famine Song’ specifically mentioned.

If not, what songs did he think were offensive and what songs did he think were acceptable to be sung at football matches.

Also instead of focusing on scrutinising and challenging details of Mr Kelly’s bill the MSPs offered justification for the original act.

Bullets and explosives sent thought he post to then Celtic manager Neil Lennon, deputy Presiding Officer, Trish Godman and the late Paul McBride, a well-known Celtic supporting solicitor was given as a reason why the Scottish Government was right to introduce the legislation. Mr Kelly was asked if he agreed.

If we didn’t have legislation capable of dealing with this sort of behaviour post OBFA then we really were in trouble.

The tactics were obviously agreed in advance by the MSPs as each asked the same question about songs and each predictably got the same answer.

It was not however agreed by the whole committee or with the convenor, Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell as she had to remind them on more than one occasion to stick to the original line of agreed questioning.

The committees are there to scrutinise legislation and policy they are not vehicles for party politicking but all too often that is what they become.

Time and time again witnesses from external organisations who express a view different to the Scottish Government are challenged by backbench MSPs of the governing party.

Committees are not intended to be defenders of Government policy but have a scrutinising and challenging role ensuring laws are robust and implementation is effective.

The Justice Committee MSPs are right to be scrutinising James Kelly’s bill to scrap the OBFA, that is the committee role, just not in a petty, party political, point scoring manner that some pursued.

It is also what should be happening with Government Bills, instead of what we are often witnessing which is little more than cheerleading for Scottish Government ministers one can only think is done in the hope of being rewarded with a promotion.