It took a vexatious and grotesque petition to legalise incest tabled by an Australian to draw attention to the fact that anyone on the planet can attempt to change the laws of Scotland through our Parliament’s committee system.

Granted, the bid by Richard Morris was blocked after less than a minute of debate among MSPs, but the fact that this appalling subject had to be discussed at all by our political leaders brings into sharp focus a procedural quirk that needs fixed now.

Over-stretched civil servants at our cash-strapped legislature must have been rolling their eyes when Morris’s incest petition landed on their desks.

They will have wasted hours on a baseless bid - by someone who doesn't even live in the country - to allow close relatives to have sex. And what makes it worse is this was Morris’ third attempt to legalise incest, with a fourth already in the planning.

SNP MSP Angus Macdonald, deputy convenor of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee, rightly described the petition as vexatious.

He has said Morris’s bid to change Scots law from Australia begs the question of whether our parliament should accept petitions from non-residents.

Macdonald has indicated there will be a review of the procedure early in 2018, a move which the Sunday Herald wholeheartedly supports.

Our parliament is not a plaything for twisted eccentrics on the other side of the world who want the right to have sex with their siblings.

It’s time to close the loophole so that only those who must abide by our laws can petition to change them.