Earlier this week, I called on West Scotland Tory MSPs, Jamie Greene, Maurice Corry, and Maurice Golden to stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK government and oppose the shocking and inhumane two child limit and rape clause.
Their joint statement in response to my letter, published in the Irvine Herald on 21st April 2017, is shocking in its factual inaccuracies and misleading of the public.
I now call on them to clarify the false claims that they have made.
The three Tory MSPS claim that women applying for an exemption through the rape clause, by proving that they have been raped, will be ‘offered appropriate support from experienced third-party professionals who will be able to confirm that exceptions should apply.’
In reality, not a single third party agency in Scotland is willing to verify a woman’s claim to have been raped for the purpose of obtaining benefits.
Women’s organisations such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Women’s Aid witness the devastating impact of rape first hand, and know how distressing and difficult it is for women to disclose rape. They are deeply aware of the importance of trust and non-judgement in their relationship with women who seek their help.
To adjucate as to whether or not a woman is lying about being raped would compromise and undermine everything they stand for and believe in.
The Tories’ claim that the rape clause is the most sensitive way to administer the exemption, and that third parties fill in most of the form anyway, does not hold water.
In reality, there is no sensitive way to force a woman to prove that she has been raped in order to claim benefits.
And in reality, third parties in Scotland find the rape clause so morally appalling and so damaging to their role as support organisations that they cannot, and will not, administer it.
- Will the Scottish Tories stop misleading the public as to the role of third party verification, and admit that there is not a single body in Scotland willing to administer the clause?
Referring to the two child cap policy, the three Tory MSPs say that it is ‘something which the majority of people think is fair’.
Every party in the Scottish Parliament, with the exception of the Scottish Tories, has unequivocally condemned the two child cap policy. Scotland did not vote for the UK Tory Government which introduced the policy, with the Conservatives gaining under 15% of the vote in Scotland in the 2015 General Election. There have been two protests, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, against the two child cap and rape clause this week, and a Westminster petition to scrap the rape clause and the cap has over 23, 000 signatures.
- Will the Scottish Tories produce evidence to support the claim that the majority of people think that it is ‘fair’?
Whilst the Scottish Tories continue to attempt to defend the indefensible, I and colleagues from other parties across the Chamber will continue to oppose this clearly damaging and immoral two child cap and rape clause.