Bat­tle lines drawn along ‘rape clause’

SNP’s Fer­rier calls for Le Blond to lay out view

Rutherglen Reformer - - General Election - Dou­glas Dickie

Mar­garet Fer­rier has called on her Con­ser­va­tive op­po­nent to con­demn the so-called“rape clause”ahead of next month’s Gen­eral Elec­tion.

SNP can­di­date Ms Fer­rier of­fi­cially launched her cam­paign for re-elec­tion at the week­end.

And she has writ­ten to Ann Le Blond, the Tory can­di­date, call­ing on her to set out her opin­ion on the con­tro­ver­sial rule.

Un­der changes to ben­e­fit en­ti­tle­ment, child tax credit pay­ments are now made only to the first two chil­dren in a family. How­ever, chil­dren born from non-con­sen­sual sex are ex­empt from the rule.

Moth­ers who have been raped are re­quired to talk to health­care pro­fes­sion­als, a so­cial worker or an ap­proved rape charity. Op­po­nents of the clause say this amounts to women hav­ing to “prove” they have been raped and re­live the night­mare again.

Ms Fer­rier de­scribed the clause as “one of the worst poli­cies to come from this in­creas­ingly shame­ful Tory party”.

She added: “Ann Le Blond has been ea­ger to get in to pol­i­tics – stand­ing as a can­di­date for Holy­rood in Ren­frew­shire last year, and as a coun­cil­lor last week – but po­lit­i­cal of­fice comes with re­spon­si­bil­ity. I sin­cerely hope she will join me, the SNP, women’s wel­fare groups, faith lead­ers, trade unions and child poverty cam­paign­ers in con­demn­ing the rape clause.

“The SNP has shown time and again we are the true op­po­si­tion to the cal­lous Tories at West­min­ster and my party will con­tinue to be so af­ter June 8. This elec­tion is a straight fight be­tween the SNP and the Tories, and I hope the peo­ple of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang put their trust in me once more to con­tinue rep­re­sent­ing them at West­min­ster.”

Ms Le Blond, who was elected as a Tory coun­cil­lor for Cam­bus­lang West two weeks ago, said: “Of course, within the con­text of that pol­icy, it is im­por­tant to have ex­emp­tions for peo­ple who have mul­ti­ple births, for ex­am­ple, or those who have more than two chil­dren as a re­sult of rape.

“This is a dif­fi­cult is­sue and the DWP have sought to en­sure that rape sur­vivors can ac­cess sup­port in as sen­si­tive a way as pos­si­ble.

“Of course, the SNP govern­ment in Ed­in­burgh has the power to re­move the two-child cap if it wishes. If it brings for­ward such pro­pos­als then my col­leagues in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment will con­sider them care­fully.”

Attack Mar­garet Fer­rier

Re­view Ann Le Blond

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