MSP Gil Paterson is backing calls from SNP MP Alison Thewliss for Scottish Tories to re-think their position on the abhorrent rape clause.
The campaigning MP has renewed her calls for the Tory Government to scrap its two child policy and rape clause for child tax credits, one year since the policy was fully implemented by the UK Government.
Since the two child policy and rape clause came into force on 6th April 2017, Ms Thewliss has repeatedly challenged DWP Ministers on the impact of the policy on vulnerable women across the UK. She will be joining campaigners in Edinburgh on 19th April to call for an immediate end to the rape clause.
Figures from the Child Poverty Action Group estimate that the rape clause and two child policy will put an additional 250,000 children into poverty by the end of the decade. CPAG have mounted a judicial review of the two child policy and rape clause and a judgement on the case is expected imminently.
Mr Paterson commented saying:
“Now is the time for the Tory UK government to call a halt to this evil nonsense. It’s a sickening policy which forces women to relive some of the worst experiences imaginable.
“I spent 11 years on the board of Rape Crisis, an organisation that provides help and support to victims of sexual violence and I am horrified at the callous attitude of Tory MPs.
“And what of the child labelled the product of rape? What effect would this have on a vulnerable child if this kind of information got out?
“The two child policy is a ludicrous policy in the first place so it is no surprise that the rape clause stemmed from it. Why on earth should a child be penalised for the order that they were conceived in? We now have the situation where a loving parent who falls on difficult circumstances, and let’s face it that could happen to any of us, can be plunged into poverty because they have a third child who they could well provide for before they hit hard times.”
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“The new Scottish Tory MPs have been in Westminster for almost a year and it’s time they had a re-think about their position on the abhorrent rape clause policy.
"The policy not only plunges children in to poverty, but forcing women to disclose one of the worst experiences of their lives, just in order to make a claim for a benefit, has to be one of the most abhorrent polices to have come out of this heartless Tory Government.
"What is the position of the new Scottish Tory MPs? In light of the research carried out by Child Poverty Action Group, and the public outcry - do they still believe the policy is justified?
“One year on from its introduction, serious problems remain about the impact of the two child policy and rape clause on vulnerable women and children. I’ve continued to ask questions, but Ministers haven’t given me any answers, or reassurance or justification that this policy is either workable or necessary.
“The UK Government has made U-turns at short notice, even after holding out on its position for a long time. This despicable policy should be the next one to be axed.”