FERRIER CHALLENGES TORY CANDIDATE OVER RAPE CLAUSE

Rutherglen & Hamilton West’s SNP Westminster candidate Margaret Ferrier has today (12 May) written to her Conservative opponent, Ann Le Blond, challenging her to condemn the so-called Tory ‘rape clause’.

In July 2015, George Osborne, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced plans to cut child tax payments to the first two children per family and implement a ‘non-consensual sex exemption’. The policy requires the tax credit claimant to prove to social workers and health professionals that their third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape in order to qualify for the exemption.

The SNP have been leading the calls for the policy to be scrapped at Westminster, with Alison Thewliss, the previous Glasgow Central MP, first raising this issue 22 months ago.

Campaigners argue that the policy is unworkable, and last week the Herald newspaper reported that “in the United States similar welfare policies are being ditched amid concerns about their failure.”

Commenting, SNP candidate Margaret Ferrier said:

“The rape clause is one of the worst policies to come from this increasingly shameful Tory party. Time and again this issue is coming up on doorsteps – countless constituents share my disgust and agree that the rape clause should be immediately scrapped.

“Ann LeBlond has been eager to get into 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 that we are the true opposition to the callous Tories at Westminster and my party will continue to be so after June 8th. 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.”

ENDS

NOTES

Copy of letter to Ann Le Blond (personal information redacted)

Recent column written by Margaret Ferrier for the Rutherglen Reformer on the rape clause:

Contained within the small print of the Tory Government’s 2015 Budget was a proposal to limit tax credits to two children and, in order for a third child to qualify for tax credits, women would have to provide evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as rape.

This restriction, effectively a two-child policy, was a horrifying prospect – but made much worse by a proposal that would force survivors of rape to relive a gruesome and traumatic ordeal, simply to receive social security payments.

It is absolutely abhorrent the Tories think that this policy – which came into effect earlier this month – is morally acceptable.

And despite it also being very difficult to implement, the UK Government has pressed ahead regardless – issuing forms that need to be completed and effectively wrapping rape in red tape.

Requiring a woman to prove that her child was conceived as a result of rape is utterly appalling and must be one of the most vile policies ever to come from Westminster, yet it has been totally railroaded through Parliament without debate or the approval of MPs.

The SNP has been resolute from the outset that these policies are immoral, unworkable, and must be scrapped.

My party colleague Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has been tireless in her campaigning on this issue, and her dogged determination has ensured that this issue has not only been kept in the spotlight for almost two years now, but has gathered significant opposition from across the political spectrum and civic society.

Tory ministers even conceded in the consultation response document that “most respondents felt it was unacceptable for the UK Government to ask women to re-live the ordeal of a rape just in order to make a claim for benefit”.

The rape clause and two child policy is now opposed by faith leaders, trade unions, women’s rights campaigners and MPs from every party in the House of Commons.

Reputable charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid are refusing to “collude” with any scheme to assess entitlement for rape victims.

SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has now written to the UK Government, to advise that there will be no co-operation from the Scottish NHS on what she has called a “terrible policy”.

As a result, Scottish NHS workers will not receive Whitehall guidance on how to implement it.

This resistance from womens’ charities and the Scottish Government raises very serious questions about how the Tories will be able to operate the rape clause in Scotland in practice.

You may wonder where the Scottish Tories have been throughout this.

After months of silence, Ruth Davidson initially tried to hide behind her official spokesperson, then last week came out in open support of the rape clause.

She did so with a pathetic attack on the Scottish Government, attempting to deflect attention from her party’s direct responsibility for this policy.

No amount of misdirection or fuzzy photo opportunities will help Ruth Davidson out this time.

She may think that she has detoxified the Tories in Scotland, but this particular episode has left it brutally clear for all to see that the Conservatives truly are the nasty party.

Rape Clause Needs To Be Scrapped

The following is Margaret’s column from the 19th April 2017 edition of the Rutherglen Reformer:


Contained within the small print of the Tory Government’s 2015 Budget was a proposal to limit tax credits to two children and, in order for a third child to qualify for tax credits, women would have to provide evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as rape.

This restriction, effectively a two-child policy, was a horrifying prospect – but made much worse by a proposal that would force survivors of rape to relive a gruesome and traumatic ordeal, simply to receive social security payments.

It is absolutely abhorrent the Tories think that this policy – which came into effect earlier this month – is morally acceptable.

And despite it also being very difficult to implement, the UK Government has pressed ahead regardless – issuing forms that need to be completed and effectively wrapping rape in red tape.

Requiring a woman to prove that her child was conceived as a result of rape is utterly appalling and must be one of the most vile policies ever to come from Westminster, yet it has been totally railroaded through Parliament without debate or the approval of MPs. 

The SNP has been resolute from the outset that these policies are immoral, unworkable, and must be scrapped.

My party colleague Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has been tireless in her campaigning on this issue, and her dogged determination has ensured that this issue has not only been kept in the spotlight for almost two years now, but has gathered significant opposition from across the political spectrum and civic society.

Tory ministers even conceded in the consultation response document that “most respondents felt it was unacceptable for the UK Government to ask women to re-live the ordeal of a rape just in order to make a claim for benefit”. 

The rape clause and two child policy is now opposed by faith leaders, trade unions, women’s rights campaigners and MPs from every party in the House of Commons. 

Reputable charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid are refusing to “collude” with any scheme to assess entitlement for rape victims.

SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison has now written to the UK Government, to advise that there will be no co-operation from the Scottish NHS on what she has called a “terrible policy”.

As a result, Scottish NHS workers will not receive Whitehall guidance on how to implement it.

This resistance from womens’ charities and the Scottish Government raises very serious questions about how the Tories will be able to operate the rape clause in Scotland in practice.

You may wonder where the Scottish Tories have been throughout this.

After months of silence, Ruth Davidson initially tried to hide behind her official spokesperson, then last week came out in open support of the rape clause.

She did so with a pathetic attack on the Scottish Government, attempting to deflect attention from her party’s direct responsibility for this policy.

No amount of misdirection or fuzzy photo opportunities will help Ruth Davidson out this time.

She may think that she has detoxified the Tories in Scotland, but this particular episode has left it brutally clear for all to see that the Conservatives truly are the nasty party.

 

Comment on the snap General Election

Commenting, Margaret Ferrier MP said:

“Theresa May’s announcement follows her continued denial that she would call a snap election – having previously cited stability and certainty as reasons not to hold one. This massive U-turn shows that she is putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the United Kingdom. It is opportunism, plain and simple – the Prime Minister is clearly seizing upon the shambolic state of the Labour Party in an attempt to increase her small majority.

“In the face of a right-wing hard Tory Brexit from a Government who continue to punish the poorest through an ideological obsession with austerity, the choice in Scotland will be clear-cut; only the SNP will put Scotland first, standing up to a Tory Government that thinks it can do whatever it wants despite having no mandate north of the border.

“It has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life to represent Rutherglen and Hamilton West at Westminster. I have been the strong voice that I promised during my election campaign – contributing more than any other Scottish MP at Parliament – and a champion for the diverse and distinct communities across Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Halfway, Blantyre, and Hamilton West.

“I fully intend to seek re-election so that I may continue the job that I have started. Between now and June 8th, I and my party colleagues will work harder than ever to retain the trust of the Scottish people.”

LOTTO HELP FOR RUTHERGLEN & HAMILTON WEST WELCOME

Margaret Ferrier MP has thanked National Lottery players in Rutherglen and Hamilton West for their role in raising over £30 million every week for good causes, and has urged more local arts, sports, heritage and community groups to apply for National Lottery funding.

Since the National Lottery started in 1994, £20,932,064 of funding has gone to 832 projects in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

The SNP MP highlighted that although National Lottery funding has already made a massive difference in the area, there is still more money available that could be just the ticket for local sports clubs, and arts, community and heritage groups.

Commenting, Margaret Ferrier MP said:

“Most people play The National Lottery to win, but the reason it was set up in the first place was to fund good causes.

“National Lottery players have already helped countless local groups, but so many more could still benefit from funding. For example, it can be used to buy equipment, modernise facilities, train volunteers, make a film, or organise an event, activity or performance.

“I’d strongly urge everyone involved in something like this to consider applying for National Lottery funding.”

Local groups can find out more about National Lottery funding and how to apply for it by visiting: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

ENDS