First Minister slams Tory rape clause policy in New York address

Nathanael Williams

First Minister of Scotland stuns US audience with story of UK policy of rape exemptions for child tax credits 

NICOLA STURGEON has pledged that her administration will recommit to defending the rights of women in Scotland and abroad in response to the controversial implementation of the rape clause policy by the UK Tory Government. 

The First Minister made the comments in a sit-down interview at the Women in the World festival in New York yesterday (Thursday 6 April) where she gathered with some of the most experienced and powerful women in politics, business and the arts.

In an evening which saw former secretary of state Hillary Clinton give a talk about the role of women in world politics, Sturgeon outlined how her government would never support a policy aimed at vulnerable women in such as way as the UK Government had done. 

She said: “I feel a big responsibility to use the influence I’ve got to tear down the barriers and address the challenges other women have still face. Because it’s not enough to be a woman in a leadership position, it’s important that you do the right things with it.

“There’s a policy that – Sorry I have to apologise because I get angry just talking about it but there’s a policy introduced in the UK called the rape clause…it is a disgusting and disgraceful policy but it’s a policy that’s been introduced by a woman prime minister.”

The comments appeared to be aimed at not only the UK Government but the UK Prime Minister who although considered an example of a powerful woman on the international stage has had her progressive values questioned by women’s organisations. The regaling of the rape clause policy caused a substantial gasp of shock from the audience.

In this, she was supported online by Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon who tweeted agreement at the need to have a common front against the policy considered damaging and misogynistic by campaigners and women’s rights advocates. 

The interview was part of a wider trip to America which has seen Nicola Sturgeon solidify her image abroad and promote Scottish interests both economically and ethically. Sturgeon was also pictured with Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidency Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote but missed out to now President Donald Trump.

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