Nicola Sturgeon: Ruth Davidson ‘utterly shameful’ for supporting the rape clause

Written by Jenni Davidson on 21 April 2017 in News

Opposition parties united at the Scottish Parliament to protest against rape clause

Scottish Parliament - Image credit: Anita Gould

The four opposition parties united outside the Scottish Parliament to protest against the so-called rape clause introduced by the UK Government.

In an unusual move during an election campaign, Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvie and Willie Rennie stood together against the two-child cap on tax credits and the accompanying rape clause.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss, who has been leading the campaign against rape clause at Westminster, was also at the protest.

This followed a heated debate during First Minister’s Questions in which Nicola Sturgeon called Ruth Davidson “utterly shameful” for supporting the clause that forces women to prove they have been raped to gain welfare support.

Challenged for her view on the rape clause by Sturgeon, the Scottish Conservative leader answered: “I will answer the question in the same way that I answered it in the press this morning: if the First Minister does not like the two-child tax policy, she can change it.”

She continued: “The truth is that the First Minister is always happier complaining about the UK Government than she is doing anything herself. The way that the SNP is readying itself to pour negativity on this country at this election is shameful.”

The First Minister replied: “Shame—shame on Ruth Davidson and shame on the Conservatives. We have just seen the true colours of Ruth Davidson and the Conservatives.

“Given the opportunity to stand up and clearly join others in the chamber to say that the rape clause—a clause that forces a woman to prove that she has been raped before claiming benefits for her children—is morally and in principle wrong, Ruth Davidson refuses to do so.

“That is utterly shameful. It brings into sharp focus the key issue at the heart of the general election.”

The clause has caused widespread outrage and earlier this week health secretary Shona Robison revealed that she has written to the UK Government informing to say the NHS in Scotland will boycott the policy.

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