Alison Thewliss MP joins supporters at the launch of her campaign to scrap the rape clause

Rape clause concessions sneaked out as Trump takes centre stage

SNP MP Alison Thewliss has commented on the UK Government’s decision to use Donald Trump’s inauguration to sneak out details of concessions on its “pernicious” two child policy and rape clause.

The UK Government chose Trump’s inauguration day to issue a response to a controversial public consultation which closed back in November last year.

Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The UK Government clearly tried to sneak out this news just hours before Trump’s inauguration in the hope it would be buried amongst other anti-women headlines in America. That they wanted this callous policy to be buried speaks volumes in itself.

“Women across the world have been marching this weekend in solidarity with America, whilst here in the UK, the Westminster Government ploughs ahead to undermine women’s rights.

“Obviously I am pleased that the UK Government has made a number of concessions, which will go some way to reducing some of the cruellest aspects associated with this pernicious proposal.

“I particularly welcome the u-turn on multiple births and that there will be no time limit on the reporting of rape. What is also encouraging is the decision to remove frontline DWP and HMRC staff from gatekeeping on this incredibly sensitive process. However, there are still fundamental problems with this pernicious two-child policy, not least concerning those of faith and ethnic minority backgrounds.

The UK Government’s own response clearly identifies that the most controversial aspect of the policy was the rape clause. Ministers even go on to concede 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. Despite receiving that loud and overwhelming message, this appalling and crass Tory Government refuse to listen.

“The fact remains that this policy, however diluted, is still anti-women, anti-family and fundamentally wicked.

“There are still a number of very serious unanswered questions about the practicalities of a policy due to be implemented in just a few months’ time. I’ll be using this crucial time to fight these proposals all the way, particularly when they come to the House as a statutory instrument.”

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