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UN Launches probe into "Pernicious" Two Child Policy
Alison Thewliss MP
Sunday, 22 May 2016

Alison - rape clauseSNP MP, Alison Thewliss, has welcomed moves by the United Nations to launch an investigation into the UK's proposed rape clause and two child policy for tax credits.

In February, Thewliss wrote to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and asked the UN to investigate whether the UK Government’s proposed rape clause and two child policy breached the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed in 1990.

The SNP politician believes that the UK Government’s "medieval" proposals could breach at least five of the fifty-four articles in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Recently, the UN responded to Ms Thewliss and confirmed that it also had concerns about the UK's proposed welfare policies.  Accordingly, the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child will be launching an investigation next week.

Thewliss welcomed the UN’s intervention and said:

"Everyone knows that the medieval two child policy and rape clause is unworkable, immoral and is now almost certainly in contravention of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed up to almost twenty five years ago.

"I warmly welcome the UN's decision to intervene and shine a very bright light onto this cruel and thoughtless Government, which appears hell bent on making life as difficult as possible for ordinary people.

"It is clear that, over the last ten months, the Tories had hoped this campaign would be quietly dropped but the fact it has caught the attention of the UN suggests this policy is now totally untenable.  The UN probe is a major boost to our campaign to end the pernicious two child policy and rape clause.

"This Government simply cannot be allowed to get away with a policy that is tantamount to social engineering."

Questions remain unanswered on Rape Clause and Two Child Policy
Alison Thewliss MP
Thursday, 19 May 2016

Alison - rape clauseSNP MP Alison Thewliss has spoken of her "utter disappointment" following her meeting today (Thursday) with Lord Freud, Minister of State for Welfare Reform, at the Department of Work & Pensions.

Following months of campaigning, Prime Minister David Cameron finally relented and organised a meeting between the SNP MP and his Welfare Reform Minister, which took place this morning.

Thewliss had just forty-five minutes to question Freud and his officials on their "draconian" plans for a rape clause and two child policy which she said was "tantamount to social engineering."

Commenting after her meeting at the DWP’s Caxton House HQ in London, Ms Thewliss said:

"Today’s meeting was the most frustrating and soul destroying meetings I’ve ever had to endure in my nine years of elected public office, first as a Councillor and now as an MP.

"Lord Freud showed no compassion for the vulnerable women and families who will be subjected to some of the most draconian welfare reforms in the world, which are tantamount to social engineering.

 "The Prime Minister himself conceded the Government had “more to do” on this policy, and promised that they would consult on this.  When I pressed the Minister, it turns out that the Government have consulted just four organisations on a policy which will cause unimaginable pain and distress to victims of rape.

"This Government clearly does not appreciate that the majority of rapes happen within abusive relationships, and that pushing women to claim could place them and their children in a very dangerous position.

"During the course of the meeting, Lord Freud suggested that women should "just flee", without appreciating how incredibly difficult that can be. This comes at the same time when women's refuges are under threat by Tory cuts to housing benefit. That is simply unacceptable and confirms my worst fears that this is the most uncaring, heartless and cruel Government yet.

"On restricting tax credits to the first two children in a family, Lord Freud made great play of the fact that 85% of families have two or less children, therefore this policy would only impact a small minority of people. He couldn’t answer why the Government is legislating to attack such a small minority. He confirmed that he had not consulted with any religious groups, who may be disproportionately affected by the restriction.

"I was further appalled to hear that they have no intention of protecting eligibility to tax credits for families composed of children from previous relationships, which further undermines the Government’s much vaunted ‘family test’.

"I am absolutely gutted by this Tory Government's lack of compassion, but I will continue the fight to end to this policy.  It’s just a shame that the UK Government are so hell bent on pushing ahead with this that they’ll be as obstructive as possible."

Thewliss takes Rape Clause fight to DWP HQ
Alison Thewliss MP
Thursday, 19 May 2016

alison-thewliss-sm-201602SNP MP, Alison Thewliss, will today meet with Lord Freud, UK Minister for Welfare Reform, at the Department for Work & Pension’s Caxton House HQ in London.

Further stepping up her campaign against the Government’s proposed rape clause and two child policy, Ms Thewliss will use the meeting – organised by the Prime Minister – to put forward a list of unanswered questions to the Government which, she says, "demonstrate the policies to be unworkable, let alone immoral".

Commenting in advance of her meeting with Lord Freud, Alison Thewliss MP said:

"It is now ten months since I first raised concerns about the Tories plans to limit tax credits and introduce a rape clause, and I’m determined to keep pursuing this.  The Government cannot be allowed to get away with implementing policies that are tantamount to social engineering."

"I’ve met and spoken with a number of women’s welfare and rape crisis organisations over recent months and it is clear that vulnerable women and families are deeply worried about the impact these cruel and draconian policies will have on them."

"Ministers at every level of Government, including the Chancellor and Prime Minister, have assured me that they realise this policy needs looked at again.  We’ve been promised a consultation but, as yet – and not for lack of asking – we’ve still got no detail as to how or when the consultation will be undertaken, who will be consulted, how long it will run for and when it will report."

"The policy doesn’t need consultation – it needs binned.  The fact that the Government has thus far been unable to answer basic questions demonstrate the policies to be as unworkable as they are immoral."

Davidson urged to be a "strong opposition" to Tories' Rape Clause and Two Child Policy
Alison Thewliss MP
Monday, 09 May 2016

Scots Tory Leader, Ruth Davidson, has been challenged to put up a "strong opposition" to her own party's draconian welfare reforms at Westminster.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss has written (pdf) to Ruth Davidson following her party's Holyrood election boost, saying that it's "time to stand up for vulnerable women and families" by opposing the UK Tories proposed Rape Clause and Two Child policy.
Commenting, Ms Thewliss said:
"The Scottish Conservative Party spent much of the recent election campaigning under a banner of being a "strong opposition" for Scotland.  I welcome scrutiny and constructive opposition, but Ruth Davidson needs to realise that being a strong opposition doesn't extend just to Holyrood.
"If Ruth Davidson is serious about being an effective party leader, she can't just be the UK Tory party's ambassador for promoting inherently unfair policies in Scotland. Ms Davidson's party is still absolutely hell bent on ramming through vile and draconian welfare policies, and it just underlines my view that they're still the Nasty Party.
"Ruth Davidson has the opportunity to not only be a strong opposition, but to locate her moral compass, say no to penalising families and say no to demanding vulnerable women relive the trauma of being raped simply to claim tax credits."

Nicola Sturgeon: Manifesto 2016
Party Election Broadcast
Thursday, 21 April 2016
Manifesto Released
Scottish Parliament Election 2016
Thursday, 21 April 2016

Our vision is for a fair, equal and prosperous nation with opportunity for us all to grow and thrive.nicola sturgeon 2016 campaign start

Set out in our manifesto are the means by which we believe we can bring that vision closer to becoming real.

It is a plan for reform and transformation, providing an ambitious prospectus to fulfil Scotland's massive potential.

For Scotland's children it means a better start in life and more opportunities for the rest of their lives. And for their parents it means more jobs, better-paid jobs and greater security in which to bring up their families.

Our NHS is precious to all our hearts and we will protect, nurture and grow it for as long as the SNP is in government.

Fresh ideas on care and greater investment can give the vulnerable in our society an improved quality of life, whatever their age or situation.

And with new powers over tax and social security we can expand our economy and lift more people out of poverty.

Read our manifesto - our plan to keep Scotland moving forward - here (pdf).

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