Ruth Davidson challenges Nicola Sturgeon over 'rape clause' row

Auslan Cramb
Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson are at loggerheads over welfare reforms - PA

Ruth Davidson has challenged Nicola Sturgeon to say whether she will use new powers at Holyrood to scrap the so-called “rape clause” introduced by the UK Government’s child tax credit reforms.

The Scottish Conservative leader, who has been under attack from the SNP and Labour over the issue, said that if she failed to do so she would be guilty of “gross hypocrisy”.

Ms Davidson, who was branded a “disgrace” by Ms Sturgeon for supporting the policy, said Holyrood had powers which could be used to offset the UK welfare reforms.

The controversial policy caps child tax credit support at two children. Women can claim tax credits for a third or subsequent child if the conception was the result of a rape, or if they were in a coercive relationship.

However, the onus is on the mother to prove the claim by filling out an eight-page form.

Ms Davidson spoke out after Ms Sturgeon challenged her to “break her silence” and condemn the policy.

The First Minister said: “Despite her claims to be an upfront, straight-talking politician, so far Ruth Davidson has hidden behind a Tory spokesperson as her party continues to defend the punitive and inhumane policy.”

Nicola Sturgeon has called Ms Davidson a 'disgrace' over child tax credit cap Credit: AFP

The Tory leader said the Scottish Parliament has the power to create a new Scottish-only benefit, following the passage of the Scotland Act, and called on the SNP and Scottish Labour to set out their position.

She added: “We support the exemptions which the UK Government has put in place on restrictions to child tax credits, and we want to see the UK Government implement them in the most compassionate way possible. That work is on-going.

“The SNP has said it opposes the two-child policy on tax credits, so it now has a choice to make.

“At Holyrood, we now have the power to create new benefits. So the Scottish Government could, if it wanted, propose a new benefit to provide funding for families with more than two children.

“Of course this would have to be paid for, but if the SNP Government believes this to be of such importance, then it can act.

“However, if Nicola Sturgeon simply wants to use this to complain about the policies of the UK Government - and not act at Holyrood when she has the power to do so - then she leaves herself open to the charge of gross hypocrisy.”

Meanwhile, Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, has written to Ms Davidson to challenge her to stand up to the policy which she said “should shame every single Tory MSP”.

The reform has caused an outcry north of the border and a demonstration against it was held in Glasgow’s George Square on Thursday night.

George Osborne announced the measure in his July 2015 Budget Credit: PA

The SNP MP Alison Thewliss responded to Ms Davidson’s challenge by saying she had become “completely isolated and desperate” in her attempts to defend the policy.

She added: “It takes a special kind of twisted logic for the Tory leader in Scotland to call for the Scottish Parliament to protect families from the vindictive policies of the Tory Government in Westminster.

“Ms Davidson fails to mention that people in Scotland already pay our taxes to the UK Government for a social security system that should be fair and there when we need it.

“If Ruth Davidson wants the Scottish Government to mitigate yet more Tory cuts, will she also call on the Tory government to pass on Scotland’s share of the pounds12 billion ‘savings’ they intend to make through those brutal welfare cuts?

“The fact is, this policy is unfair everywhere - and should be scrapped across the whole of the UK. Rather than back those calls, Ruth Davidson instead wants people in Scotland to pay an ever-increasing ransom to the Tories at Westminster to protect people on low incomes from ever-more disgraceful Tory policies.”

RegisterLog incommenting policy

  • Woman shares graphic photo of bloodied face after sex attack to raise awareness for #MeToo viral campaign
    News
    Evening Standard

    Woman shares graphic photo of bloodied face after sex attack to raise awareness for #MeToo viral campaign

    A photojournalist has told how she was pinned down and beaten in the back of a cab during a shocking sexual assault that left her with a swollen and bloodied face. Rena Effendi, a photographer based in Istanbul, posted a graphic portrait of her facial injuries as part of the viral #MeToo social media campaign, which hundreds of thousands of women have used to detail allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. The 40-year-old, originally from Azerbaijan, said she fought back with her iPhone when a cab driver in Cairo pulled over, locked the doors and assaulted her in a 2012 attack.

  • Who is favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing 2017?
    News
    Digital Spy

    Who is favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing 2017?

    Here's everything you need to know.

  • Volkswagen Golf tops list of cars being considered for scrappage schemes
    News
    PA Motoring

    Volkswagen Golf tops list of cars being considered for scrappage schemes

    Auto Trader analysis ranks models popular with drivers looking to ditch old polluting vehicles

  • Everton sponsors SportPesa apologise for tweet celebrating Arsenal win
    News
    Evening Standard

    Everton sponsors SportPesa apologise for tweet celebrating Arsenal win

    Everton's main shirt sponsors SportPesa has apologised for a tweet celebrating the Toffees' 5-2 Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Sunday. Victory for the Gunners left the Merseyside club in the Premier League relegation zone and proved to be the final straw for manager Ronald Koeman, who was sacked on Monday afternoon.

  • UK plan to register EU citizens would be illegal, say MEPs
    News
    The Guardian

    UK plan to register EU citizens would be illegal, say MEPs

    Demonstrators hold banners during a protest to Lobby MPs to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has been warned by a cross-party group of MEPs that her plans to force EU nationals to add their names to a register in the transition period immediately after Brexit would be illegal and unacceptable to the European parliament. The MEPs from across Europe have written to Rudd following her suggestions to the home affairs committee that she would expect EU nationals to have to register with the authorities in the period immediately after Britain left the EU.

  • EU calls report on May-Juncker talks a smear
    News
    Reuters

    EU calls report on May-Juncker talks a smear

    The European Commission said a newspaper report that Jean-Claude Juncker had disparaged Theresa May's "despondent" demeanour after a dinner last week was a deliberate smear intended to disrupt Brexit negotiations. It was the second time in six months that a correspondent for Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung who is respected for his access to Juncker's team has published an account of the EU chief executive's reactions after a dinner meeting with the British prime minister on Britain's EU withdrawal. "Nothing is true in all of this," President Juncker told the BBC, adding that May had been "in good shape" and "not tired".

  • T-charge: All you need to know about London's new anti-pollution measure
    News
    Sky News

    T-charge: All you need to know about London's new anti-pollution measure

    Drivers of the most polluting vehicles will now have to pay a further £10 to enter the centre of London. Here's all you need to know about the toxicity T-charge.

  • News
    Sky News

    Labour MP Jared O'Mara quits committee over historical 'offensive' comments

    Labour MP Jared O'Mara has resigned from Parliament's women and equalities select committee after historical comments he posted online re-surfaced. Mr O'Mara was applauded by Jeremy Corbyn as he told of having been on a journey and changed his views. Among the posts sent between 2002 and 2004, the now Sheffield Hallam MP called gay people "f****-packers" and "p*******", saying he found it "funny" that they "think they have the monopoly on being subject to abuse".

  • News
    Sky News

    Deadly tiger shark stalks stranded diver four miles back to shore

    A diver who became separated from his boat has said he is lucky to be alive after swimming miles back to shore while being stalked by a large tiger shark. British expat John Craig, 34, was fishing underwater between Denham and Cape Peron in Western Australia when his boat experienced engine problems and was swept away in strong currents. After shouting and splashing in an attempt to alert his crew mate, Mr Craig put his head in the water and saw the 4m (13ft) tiger shark "approaching within arm's reach".

  • 'Unhappy, lonely individuals': Boss of Soho bar Milk and Honey blasts neighbours objecting to street food stall
    News
    Evening Standard

    'Unhappy, lonely individuals': Boss of Soho bar Milk and Honey blasts neighbours objecting to street food stall

    A bar mogul has lashed out at “unhappy, lonely, moaning individuals” whose complaints about his street food venue almost forced its closure. Jonathan Downey, owner of award-winning Soho bar Milk and Honey, faced 23 objections to the renewal of a licence for Hawker House, a huge food and drink market in a disused warehouse in Canada Water, Rotherhithe. “London has become much more like New York, where residents’ groups can object and you cannot get a licence for anything in some areas of the city.

  • Russell Brand has upset fans with THIS joke
    Entertainment news

    Russell Brand has upset fans with THIS joke

    He made an inappropriate sexual assault joke on Sunday Brunch

  • Australia examines tougher penalties for white collar crime
    News
    Reuters

    Australia examines tougher penalties for white collar crime

    The Australian government is planning to increase penalties and lengthen prison terms for financial crimes in a bid to strengthen the enforcement powers of the corporate regulator following a series of scandals. Penalties for financial crimes should be more than doubled, fraudulent gains of companies and banks should be seized, and maximum prison terms lengthened, an interim report released by the government on Monday recommended. The government is seeking to improve public confidence in the financial system and give more power to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), which has been criticised for lacking clout amid a series of corporate scandals.

  • News
    Business Insider UK

    British business groups appeal for Brexit transition period

    LONDON (AP) — Five of Britain's biggest business groups are calling on the government to quickly agree to a transition period of at least two years following the country's exit from the European Union to provide certainty about regulatory and trade rules as companies make critical decisions for jobs and investment.

  • Bottomless Sunday roast with red wine is now a thing
    News
    Digital Spy

    Bottomless Sunday roast with red wine is now a thing

    Roast with the most... wine.

  • How My Linkedin Profile Helped Me Face Cancer And Myself
    News
    HuffPost UK

    How My Linkedin Profile Helped Me Face Cancer And Myself

    Completing the profile section I was reminded of what I did a few years ago, before I left LinkedIn.

  • 50 shades of vegetarianism: how going meat-free got complicated
    News
    The Telegraph

    50 shades of vegetarianism: how going meat-free got complicated

    50 shades of vegetarianism: how going meat-free got complicated

  • UK's 'most notorious address' Dolphin Square to get £400m makeover with gym and 200 new apartments
    News
    Evening Standard

    UK's 'most notorious address' Dolphin Square to get £400m makeover with gym and 200 new apartments

    The owners of Dolphin Square in Pimlico are to seek planning permission from Westminster council for the demolition and rebuilding of the north side of the square. Under the plans, from architects Eric Parry, 7,000 windows will be replaced and a gym and offices will be built underground. Over the years Dolphin Square has been associated with several scandals — “blackshirt” leader Oswald Mosley was arrested at his flat there during the Second World War, and Admiralty clerk John Vassall was living in the square when he was unmasked as a Soviet spy in 1962.

  • Whiteness Dominates Oxford - But That Shouldn't Discourage BAME Students From Applying
    News
    HuffPost UK

    Whiteness Dominates Oxford - But That Shouldn't Discourage BAME Students From Applying

    In light of David Lammy's investigation into diversity at Oxbridge, I've been added to four separate group chats titled "Oxford is racist."

  • News
    Reuters

    German tourist arrivals in Turkey seen rising 15-20 percent in 2018

    Early reservations point to a 15-20 percent rise in the number of German tourists visiting Turkey next year, Michael Frenzel, president of the federal association of Germany's tourism sector told Reuters. German visitors to Turkey fell sharply last year, mainly due to security concerns following a series of militant attacks and a failed military coup and as growing tension between Berlin and Ankara caused deep strains in diplomatic ties.

  • News
    Reuters

    Six police wounded, one killed in shootings near Indonesia's Freeport mine

    Six police were wounded and one killed in shootings that police alleged on Monday were carried out by a separatist group that aims to disrupt operations at the Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia's eastern-most province of Papua. The armed group police say is behind the shootings has up to 30 "separatist" members led by a man named Sabinus Waker. The group has carried out earlier shootings in the mine area as well, Papua Police spokesman Suryadi Diaz told Reuters.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street says ICOs will 'blow up in people's faces'
    News
    Business Insider UK

    The Wolf of Wall Street says ICOs will 'blow up in people's faces'

    Jordan Belfort inspired the film 'Wolf of Wall Street' after running stock selling boiler room. Jordan Belfort told the Financial Times in an interview that "initial coin offerings" are "such a huge gigantic scam that’s going to blow up in so many people’s faces.

  • Most business economists see US growth above 2%: poll
    News
    AFP

    Most business economists see US growth above 2%: poll

    Construction cranes tower over a re-development project at Hudson Yards in New York

  • George Young dead: Songwriter, Easybeats member and AC/DC producer dies aged 70
    News
    The Independent

    George Young dead: Songwriter, Easybeats member and AC/DC producer dies aged 70

    Pioneering Australian songwriter George Young has died aged 70. Young, the brother of AC/DC's Angus and Malcolm Young, was a member of the Easybeats and co-wrote the band's hit "Friday On My Mind". Born in Scotland in 1946, he migrated to Australia with his family as a teenager, forming The Easybeats after he met Dutch-born artist Harry Vanda in Sydney.

  • Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis becomes freely available online, letting anyone see the essay that started it all
    News
    The Independent

    Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis becomes freely available online, letting anyone see the essay that started it all

    You can finally take a peek into the mind of one of the greatest students in the world: Stephen Hawking, and his PhD thesis. The University of Cambridge has long looked after the doctorate presented by the young Professor Hawking, and the work that would go on to make him famous. Now, anyone anywhere can download and look at a digitised version of the thesis – complete with Mr Hawking's own hand-written signature.

  • News
    Sky News

    Antibiotic resistance 'one of the most dangerous global crises facing modern world'

    The use of antibiotics when they are not needed is creating "one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today", a new campaign is warning. Public Health England (PHE) has launched the new "Keep Antibiotics Working" campaign to tackle the growing resistance to the drugs. TV and radio adverts and posters have been produced to discourage patients from asking their GPs for antibiotics as the NHS heads into the busy winter period.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes