Scottish Tories Under Fire Over Backing For Benefits 'Rape Clause'
25 April 2017, 06:38
The Tories will come under fire at Holyrood today for supporting the UK Government's so called "rape clause''.
The controversial policy, which means tax credits are limited to two children with an exemption for women who have conceived as a result of rape, was introduced in April as part of wider welfare reforms.
Nicola Sturgeon has already condemned Ruth Davidson for her failure to speak out against the "abhorrent'' policy.
Now the First Minister has put forward a motion to Holyrood which says the Scottish Parliament is "fundamentally opposed'' to the measure and calls on the UK Government to "urgently change its position and remove the two-child cap and therefore scrap the 'rape clause'''.
Ms Sturgeon branded the measure "unfair, unequal, morally unacceptable and deeply harmful to women and their children'' as well as being a "fundamental violation of women's human rights''.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will also speak against the policy during the debate at Holyrood.
Speaking at a General Election campaign rally in Dunfermline, Fife, on Monday, she said: "I'll make Ruth Davidson defend this policy every single day of this campaign.''
Scottish Liberal Democrat social security spokeswoman Caron Lindsay said the Tory approach to child tax credits "is like something from Victorian times''.
She added: "It is degrading and humiliating that a woman should ever have to prove rape to the satisfaction of a civil servant in order to be able to feed her children.
"It isn't too late for the Scottish Conservatives and Ruth Davidson to actually make an effort to change the minds of their colleagues and stand up against this deeply unpopular policy.''
Scottish Conservative equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells said the party would use the debate to "set out why limiting child tax credit to the first two children is the right course of action''.
She said: "We will also be reaffirming our view that exemptions to these limits should apply for women who have been through the most difficult circumstances and had a child due to rape.
"This debate is an opportunity for the SNP government to set out whether or not it wants to use its welfare powers to scrap the limits to child tax credits in Scotland.
"We will also be using the debate to repeat our calls for the SNP to provide more support services for women who have suffered sexual violence.''