Tory welfare chief Esther McVey has been heckled in furious scenes after claiming the infamous ‘rape clause’ will “support” women.
Today’s hearing before the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee was halted twice due to interruptions from the public.
The first came as Ms McVey argued Universal Credit is a “supportive system” aimed at helping people into work.
One audience member shouted “you can’t get into work if you’re dead” as the Work and Pensions Secretary was grilled in Holyrood.
The second time came after she defended the “rape clause” – claiming brazenly that it could actually help women.
The clause is part of a new regime that came in last year, in which people can only claim tax credits for their first two children.
There are exceptions for twins, disabled children or children born of rape. However, raped mums must prove their ordeal by providing “evidence” in an 8-page government form.
Campaigners and the British Medical Association (BMA) have slammed the policy for raped women as an “abhorrent attack” on the poor.
But Ms McVey today said: “What we’re doing is providing extra help where people have got more children that they couldn’t have planned.
“We’re providing that extra support – there will be no questions like that [invasive questions] asked from the DWP or from the Treasury.
“And people will be supported and shown to the various other organisations
“And again this could give them an opportunity to talk about, maybe, something that has happened that they never had before.
“So it is potentially double support there. Them getting the money they need and maybe an outlet which they might possibly need.”
Soon after this a second audience member began shouting and then walked out.
Labour MSP Pauline McNeill said after the hearing: “This was a disgraceful performance from a Work and Pensions Secretary who is completely out of touch with the reality of life for low income women on tax credits.
“To badge up the vile rape clause as some sort of virtuous policy to provide support is simply skin-crawling.
“The rape clause is a policy created by the Tory government’s ideological obsession to deliver tax cuts for the richest and big business paid for by cutting support for the poorest.
“The Tories should abolish the rape clause.”