Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has written to the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, urging her to “stand up for vulnerable women and scrap the rape clause”.
Writing to Theresa May after the Government announced its autumn statement would take place Wednesday 23rd November, the Glasgow MP urged the Prime Minister to do the right thing and abandon the previous Government’s plans to restrict tax credits to two children and compel women whose third child was born as the result of rape to justify this to Department of Work & Pensions officials.
Ms Thewliss has been campaigning for the tax credit changes to be scrapped since July 2015, when they were first announced by the Government. Since then, she has:
- Questioned former Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons;
- Coordinated a cross party letter from MPs representing no less than nine parties in the Commons – including the Conservatives – calling for the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to drop his planned policy;
- Launched the website www.scraptherapeclause.co.uk, which led to over 10,000 signatures on a petition, forcing the Government to respond to public opposition to the policy;
- Questioned former Chancellor George Osborne in the House of Commons;
- Met with Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, to press him on key details of the policy which still, to this day, remain unanswered;
- Prompted a response from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, who expressed grave concern about the planned tax credit cuts;
- Questioned former Secretary of State for Work & Pensions Iain Duncan Smith in the Commons;
- Published damning calls from PCS, one of the main civil servants unions in the UK, calling for the policy to be abolished.
This week, the campaigning MP has written to Downing Street, calling upon Theresa May to use the recent change in Government and forthcoming Autumn Statement to abolish the deeply flawed changes to tax credits.
In addition, Ms Thewliss was informed today (Tuesday) that she has been granted a Westminster debate, which she says she will use to “interrogate” Ministers on their proposed plans.
Commenting, the Glasgow Central MP said:
“Theresa May certainly wasn’t shy in weeding out many of the former Prime Minister’s allies in the cabinet, and she is obviously not afraid to do things differently from David Cameron.
“Given that she’s had the courage to do this and to review some of the previous Government’s key policy commitments, I am today calling upon her to scrap a very real and serious policy which is still frightening vulnerable women and welfare charities all over the UK.
“Since summer 2015, I’ve been pursuing the Government on their deeply flawed plans to restrict tax credit payments to two children per family.
“Equally worrying is their medieval plan to introduce a rape clause, whereby certain exemptions will be made – and tax credits paid – if a women can prove her third child was conceived as a result of rape.
“Earlier this year, I had an dreadful meeting with the Welfare Minister, Lord Freud, who struggled to answer basic questions and suggested that women in abusive relationships – where the majority of rapes still happen – should just flee. This showed the Minister to be completely ignorant of the very real dangers some women face.
“I am pleased to have secured a parliamentary debate on this issue to interrogate the Government on their cruel and unworkable policy. Over a year on from announcing it, they still don’t know how it could be implemented.
“A parliamentary debate, change in personnel in Government, as well as the forthcoming Autumn Statement, means that Theresa May has plenty of opportunities to do the right thing, stand up for vulnerable women and scrap the rape clause.
“This needn’t be about saving face for the Prime Minister. It’s about this Prime Minister standing up for other women, doing the decent thing and getting shot of this wicked policy agenda”.