Momentum builds as petition to Scrap the Tory rape clause passes 20,000

Nathanael Williams

Charities gear up for huge push back against rape clause and war of austerity on women

A PETITION demanding the scrapping of the controversial rape clause has been launched passing 20,000 signatures days after protests took place in Glasgow’s George Square.

Opened last week by Engender (Friday 14 April), the petition first aimed to reach 10,000 signatures which requires an official statement from a minister in the UK Government connected to the department for work and pensions (DWP).

The second stage would be 100,000 signatures which could result in a debate being opened in the House of commons to reconsider the family cap and rape clause which will see women choose between reliving the trauma of rape or suffering economic difficulty.

The petition reads: As the “rape clause” exemption cannot be delivered in a way that does not breach women’s rights and undermine women’s equality and safety, we call on the UK Government to repeal the “family cap” measures in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, including all of its exemptions.”

When contacted by CommonSpace, the DWP gave no comment on the petition or the over 300 strong protests that preceded it yesterday (Thursday 13 April) in Glasgow.

Speaking to CommonSpace Kim Long, Scottish Green candidate for Dennistoun in Glasgow, said: “We have reached the point where the Tory Government’s ideologically-driven austerity programme forces women to disclose an intensely personal and traumatic event out of fear of financial sanction. Ruth Davidson’s support of this abhorrent policy is shameful.”

Scotland says no to Tory rape clause in Glasgow gathering of defiance

Scottish Tories MSPs when contacted in relation to their views on the protests and the petition, reiterated the party’s line which is in full support of the UK Government and demanding the “Scottish Government use welfare powers to mitigate” any faults.

In contrast MSPs and MPs from the SNP, Greens and Labour all voiced support for the protests with Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, and Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, asking the public to sign and share the petition widely.

Picture courtesy of Jemma Tracey

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