Es­ther Mcvey branded ‘out of touch’ over rape clause claims

Evening Express (City Final) - - Scotland Today -

SCOT­LAND’S First Min­is­ter has branded the Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary “out of touch” for claim­ing the rape clause could help sup­port rape vic­tims.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence to a Holy­rood Com­mit­tee, Es­ther Mcvey was heck­led as she spoke on the rape clause, where women have to prove con­cep­tion through non-con­sen­sual sex to qual­ify for tax cred­its for a third child.

She said this of­fers women po­ten­tially “dou­ble sup­port” through money and an op­por­tu­nity to talk they may have “never had be­fore”.

The So­cial Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee meet­ing was sus­pended as an au­di­ence mem­ber be­gan shout­ing and then walked out.

Speak­ing af­ter her speech at the STUC an­nual congress, Ni­cola Stur­geon said: “To me that just il­lus­trates how out of touch Es­ther Mcvey and the Tory govern­ment are on these re­ally sen­si­tive is­sues of so­cial se­cu­rity pol­icy.

“I think most peo­ple think the rape clause is just ab­hor­rent – the very no­tion of ask­ing a woman or ex­pect­ing a woman to prove she has been raped in or­der to ac­cess ben­e­fits for her chil­dren, no woman should even have to con­tem­plate that, so to try to jus­tify that by say­ing that it of­fers some ben­e­fits, I think, adds in­sult to in­jury.”

Labour said Ms Mcvey’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the rape clause was “skin crawl­ing”, the Lib Dems said it was “de­luded” and the Greens said she tried to “de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble”.

Ear­lier, the sec­re­tary was heck­led by an­other au­di­ence mem­ber who shouted “you can’t get into work if you’re dead” at her as she ar­gued Univer­sal Credit is a “sup­port­ive sys­tem” aimed at help­ing peo­ple into work.

The au­di­ence mem­ber shouted out about a per­son who took their own life fol­low­ing sanc­tions and the meet­ing was sus­pended.

When it re­con­vened, Ms Mcvey said: “I am not obliv­i­ous to peo­ple who are in­cred­i­bly vul­ner­a­ble or who are in need, and ob­vi­ously the gen­tle­man felt he needed to have his points said about some­thing that was very im­por­tant to him and about some­body who was very vul­ner­a­ble.”

She in­sisted Univer­sal Credit is “fit for pur­pose” but SNP MSP Ge­orge Adam told her that her ap­proach is “com­pletely de­void from the real world”.

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