Ruth Davidson ‘open’ to reviewing how rape clause works

Ruth Davidson.
Ruth Davidson.
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Ruth Davidson has told how she is open to reviewing how the so-called ‘rape clause’ works.

In an interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live today she said she thought it was “right that child tax credits are limited to the first two children”.

And she added: “I also think that it’s right that if you are going to have that limit, that you have exceptions in exceptional cases, including the very worst cases like the one that you are referring to.

“In terms of how that works on the ground, if there are issues with that, then I am completely open - if there are better ways of doing it - to reviewing that.”

READ MORE: Scrapping rape clause could cost Scotland £200m
The policy change is part of UK Government welfare reforms introduced in April which mean child tax credits are now capped at two children. A clause in the new rules means mothers who have a third child as a result of rape can be exempted but would have to provide evidence in order to do so.

Nicola Sturgeon has called the clause an “abomination”, and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said that Ms Davidson would have to “defend the rape clause every single day of the general election campaign”.

READ MORE: Sturgeon taunts Davidson over rape clause ‘shame’
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live’s Emma Barnett, Ms Davidson reiterated that the verification system it’s based on is one that “already works elsewhere and had broad support elsewhere”.

“If there is an issue – and we don’t know yet, because it’s only just coming in – if there’s an issue with how that’s done, then let’s review that,” she said.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Davidson’s comments were “mealy-mouthed”.

“She seems to be talking about a review of how the rape clause operates, not a review of the rape clause in principle,” the First Minister said.

“I don’t think you can operate the rape clause in any way that is acceptable because it’s wrong in principle that any woman should have to prove that she’s been raped in order to claim support for one of her children.

“The rape clause is wrong in principle, the two-child cap is wrong in principle and I think it is shameful that Ruth Davidson can’t bring herself to say so.

“The fact that she’s being mealy-mouthed about reviewing how it works, I think, shows that she knows she’s on the wrong side of the argument.

“The fact that she doesn’t have the courage of her convictions to say so really does illustrate this point that Tory MPs will go to the House of Commons to rubber-stamp whatever Theresa May wants to do, whether that’s the rape clause or a reckless approach to Brexit or further austerity cuts.

“SNP MPs go to Westminster to stand up for Scotland and to do what’s right for Scotland.”