In a Holyrood debate on 25th April 2017, SNP MSP Ruth Maguire joined MSPs from all other parties apart from the Scottish Conservatives to condemn the UK Tory Government’s two child cap and associated rape clause.
The Scottish Conservatives were visibly uncomfortable and unusually quiet throughout the debate, and refused either to take, or make, a single intervention.
Commenting after the debate, Ruth said:
“Yesterday afternoon I joined SNP, Green, Labour and Liberal colleagues to speak against the abhorrent two child cap and rape clause.
West of Scotland Tory MSPs sat in silence and all Tory speakers refused to give or receive interventions – treating our Parliament like a lecture theatre rather than a debating chamber.
The Scottish Tories are attempting to defend the indefensible and it is showing.
The Scottish Tories claim the rape clause is the most sensitive way to administer the exemption, but in reality, there is no sensitive way to force a woman to prove that she has been raped in order to obtain the support she needs to feed her family.
The Scottish Tories also claim that professional third parties will help women to apply for the rape clause exemption. In reality, trusted women’s organisations Scotland find the rape clause so morally appalling and so damaging to their role as support organisations that they can’t, and won’t, administer it. They won’t be used as tools to get the UK government off the hook.
The Scottish Tories are well aware of this, but they continue to spread misinformation to the press, to their constituents, and in this Chamber. They should be ashamed of themselves.
The two child policy will leave more than 266, 000 thousand additional children across the UK in poverty by 2020. And the rape clause forces women to choose between poverty or reliving emotional trauma.
Whilst the Tories defend the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster, Scotland’s other political parties united yesterday to condemn these heartless and inhumane policies – and we will continue to do so.”