Thousands sign online rape clause petition

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​Pressure grows on UK government to scrap controversial legislation making women prove they were raped to get child benefits 

18th April 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A petition demanding to repeal the so-called rape clause  has reached nearly 22,000 signatures.

The online petition, posted by Alys Mumford, calls on the UK government to repeal the "family cap" on social security which limits child tax credits and elements of Universal Credit to two children.

One of the exemptions to the cap set out in secondary legislation is known as the "rape clause".

This allows payments for third and subsequent children when pregnancy has arisen from rape.

DWP's plan for implementation of the "rape clause" requires women to prove  rape to a certifying third-party assessor – either a support group, charity or a statutory authority such as the police. 

SNP MP Alison Thewliss first wrote to the prime minister in September to ask for the “cruel” clause introduced by former chancellor George Osborne to be scrapped.

Thewliss also urged speaker John Bercow to hold an emergency debate on the subject in March.

If the petition gains 100,000 signatures, it will be automatically considered for debate in parliament.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament has filed a motion to debate the clause this week.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has campaigned against the legislation which came into force this month.

The motion, drafted by SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, has received cross party support and most likely will be debated this week.

It could influence Westminster to debate the tax reforms or take the matter to a committee.

More than 300 people gathered to protest the clause at a rally in Glasgow last week, holding placards which read “Theresa May get tae” and “Your clause is baws”.

SNP MP Mhairi Black, said at the Glasgow rally: “We are all rightly disgusted by the fact that any woman has to declare and relive probably the most horrific event in her life all for the sake of a few pound, all for the sake of benefit to help raise a child.”

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