MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament led calls of “shame” after Tory leader Ruth Davidson refused to condemn the British government’s so-called child welfare “rape clause” yesterday.
Holyrood was debating welfare reforms being introduced by the Conservatives which included cuts to child tax credit and Universal Credit for third and subsequent children during First Minister’s Questions.
Exemptions exist including for multiple births, adoption and non-consensual pregnancy.
However a controversial clause means that those whose third child was conceived through rape or a coercive relationship will have to prove this in order to qualify for an exemption.
Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss led protests against the policy outside Holyrood.
And in a stormy exchange Ms Davidson was challenged by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “tell Scotland straight, do you support the rape clause in principle, or do you, like me, think it is utterly abhorrent?”
Ms Davidson replied by suggesting Ms Sturgeon could change the two-child tax policy if she didn’t like it, refusing to distance herself from the clause.
Ms Sturgeon hit back angrily saying: “Shame on Ruth Davidson and shame on the Conservatives,” as MSPs chanted: “Shame, shame.”
She added: “We have just seen in this chamber the true colours of Ruth Davidson and the Conservatives.
“Given the opportunity to stand up clearly and join others in this chamber and say the rape clause — a clause that forces a woman to prove she has been raped before claiming benefits for her child — is morally and in principle wrong, Ruth Davidson refuses to do so.