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

Nathanael Williams

Protests happen in Glasgow in response to Tory rape clause backed by Scottish Tories

OVER THREE HUNDRED people gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to defy the UK Tory Government’s family cap policy and its controversial “rape clause” provision requiring women with more than two children to disclose if they have been the victims of rape.

The policy widely condemned across the UK has seen women’s charities mobilise against the UK Government which stands accused of ignoring the advice of health professionals and women’s advocacy groups.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Tories, has come under severe pressure as a result of her silence over the policy and later her statement in support of the UK Government, given from a spokesperson.

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, told the crowd of approximately 300: “Time and time again I have asked the UK Government for the reasoning behind such a barbaric policy and I have been dismissed and ignored. Women have been ignored and attacked by this government.”

The protest was supported by Scotland’s leading organisations for women’s rights and safety such as Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA), Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), Engender and Shakti Women’s Aid some of which provided speakers. Additionally, it received support from a cross-party selection of politicians in Scotland including the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish Conservatives have on the whole formed ranks on the topic with individuals MSPs not commenting on the rape clause or referring to the party’s spokesperson that the “Scottish Government should use existing welfare powers devolved to Holyrood to mitigate.”

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, said: “I am tired. Sick and tired of having to oppose policies that we in Scotland didn’t vote for. This vile policy is misogyny sanctioned by law.”

Talat Yaqoob, director of the charity Women 50:50, added: “At first I was angered into silence. But I realised that is what they want. We can’t remain silent. Now is the time to stand up and fight more than ever.”

The family cap policy which was rolled out on April 6 will be part of ongoing welfare reform policies which according to research by Engender mean that since 2010, 86 per cent of austerity measures have fallen on women. 

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