UK Government welfare reforms which will see a cut in payments for families with three or more children have been condemned by MSPs.
In a heated debate in the Scottish Parliament SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs slammed a controversial provision in which parents will have to identify children who have been born as a result of rape in order to continue to receive benefits for them.
Ruth Davidson’s Tories defended the plans on the feeble grounds that the UK Government needed to bring spending on benefits down.
Tory MSPs were also condemned for refusing to take any interventions from opponents during their speeches, something unprecedented at Holyrood where most MSPs routinely take interventions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the policy was "shameful"
"The very need to provide an exemption from the two-child cap for women who have been raped shows the callousness of the cuts in the first place.
"Whether we are nationalists, unionists, federalists or something else, we are all united against the Tories in opposing the two-child cap and the abhorrent rape clause, which we see as anti-women, anti-child, anti-family, shameful and fundamentally wicked.”
Added Kenneth Gibson:
"Ruth Davidson has tried to pretend that the Tories in Scotland are not mere cyphers for their bosses in London. Their acceptance of this abhorrent policy explodes that myth utterly. Can anyone doubt that their failure to take interventions is because many are uncomfortable with this policy yet are blindly supporting it because it is the policy of the Tories at Westminster? If the UK Tories abandon it, will the Tories in Scotland continue to support it? Not a chance!
“It is time for Scotland’s Tory MSPs to grow a conscience and think for themselves. It is not too late for them to have an opinion of their own and have the courage to express it by rejecting this dreadful and indefensible policy imposed by their UK bosses.”