A Swedish MP says he has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Ireland's new blasphemy law.

Karl Sigfrid, a conservative member of the Swedish Parliament, says he is concerned that Swedish citizens travelling in Ireland 'could be punished for merely expressing a view on a religion or religious symbol'.

Mr Sigfrid said it was bad legislation that could spread to other EU member states.

Writing in the EU Observer, the Swedish MP said the new law was inconsistent with human rights laws under existing EU treaties.

He said that defining blasphemy as speech that offends a substantial number of religious followers gives the churches the power to gradually expand the application of the law.

Mr Sigfrid said: 'A not too far-fetched guess is that statements threatening the power of religious leaders will awaken the strongest reactions and therefore be considered the most offensive ones, resulting in punishment by the state.'

He also said the new law contravened the European Convention on Human Rights.