FMQs: Sturgeon taunts Davidson over rape clause ‘shame’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Share this article
0
Have your say

Nicola Sturgeon today goaded her Tory rival Ruth Davidson with taunts of "shame" during angry clashes at Holyrood as election fever intensified.

The First Minister turned on the Tory leader over her support for the so called rape clause which means women now seeking benefits support for a third child are forced to prove conception happened by rape.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

The SNP leader insisted that the issue illustrates the choice facing Scots in June and invited Ms Davidson to denounce the policy during First Ministers Questions.

But the Scottish Tory leader insisted that the Scottish Government could use Holyrood powers to mitigate the changes.

It prompted an angry response from the First Minister who hit out: "Shame - shame on Ruth Davidson!"

Ms Sturgeon said it revealed the "true colours" of Ms Davidson and the Conservatives.

The First Minister added: "It brings into sharp focus the key issue at the heart of this general election and I ask people to think about this.

"The rape clause has been introduced by a Tory Government at Westminster with a tiny majority. If that's what a Tory Government can do with a tiny majority, let's just think of the damage a Tory Government - an unfettered out of control Tory Government - can do with a bigger majority.

"So if people in Scotland want protection against Tory government, if people in Scotland want an effective strong opposition to a Tory Government, they won't get it from unelectable Labour , they won't get it from the Lib Dems who still say they would support a Tory Government. They'll only get it from the SNP and Scotland needs protection from the Tories."

Dani Garavelli: Rape clause shames the benefits system

Ms Davidson vowed to fight the election on the constitution.

"We will stand up for Scotland's decision to stay in the United Kingdom and we will say `no' to a second referendum so that Scotland can get on with building better schools and better public services," she added.

She also hit out at Ms Sturgeon's claim yesterday that she would be ready to back a "progressive" left-wing alliance to keep the Tories out of office.

"The First Minister's very first intervention in this election has been to say that she would put Jeremy Corbyn in No10. Is this because uniquely, the First Minister sees in Mr Corbyn the wisdom and the foresight and the leadership skills that are needed in a Prime Minister?

"Or could it be because in his own words Jeremy Corbyn is `absolutely fine' with another referendum on independence? Is that the alliance she's really seeking when she was down in London?"

But Ms Sturgeon today dismissed the prospect of Mr Corbyn winning the election in June as "pie in the sky".

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said "forcing" a second referendum was the most important issue for the SNP.

“The priority for the SNP on June 8 is finding an excuse for another divisive referendum, not kicking the Tories out of office," she said.

“The last time we were asked to vote in a General Election, Nicola Sturgeon said it wasn’t a vote for another referendum.

“Time and again we were told that a vote for the SNP is not a vote for another referendum. But we know that just isn’t true.

“Nicola Sturgeon should have the decency to tell the voters before they vote that she will use this election as an excuse for another divisive referendum. Or once again, will she wait until the day after?”

Read more: Hundreds call for scrapping of ‘despicable’ rape clause