A controversial academic with links to a pro-Union campaign group has accused the SNP of displaying “manufactured outrage” over the so-called ‘Rape Clause’, because there is a general election on.
Retired historian Jill Stephenson made the accusation in a tweet on social media. The comment followed criticism of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson by Holyrood’s other party leaders over her party’s child tax credit cap.
The cap limits tax credit payments to a maximum of two children. Women who have given birth to a third child as a result of rape can apply for additional payments if they fill in a form explaining they have been raped and provide personal details.
The issue saw SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon lodge a motion that labelled the ‘Rape Clause’ “unfair, unequal, morally unacceptable and deeply harmful to women and their children and a fundamental violation of women’s human rights”.
During a heated debate the First Minister said: “No woman anywhere should have to prove she’s been raped in order to get tax credits for their child. I can’t believe in 2017 that I’m having to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and make that argument.”
Following the debate, Stephenson, who calls herself ‘Historywoman’, posted a comment on social media which read: “You realise the legislation on that was 2 years ago? SNP is reheating it because of elections. Pure opportunism, and manufactured outrage.”
Other users of twitter pointed out that SNP MP Alison Thewliss has in fact been publicly opposing the legislation since its inception. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon herself publicly condemned the policy prior to Theresa May calling for a snap general election.
The pro-Union academic, who has appeared as a speaker at an event organised by pro-Union campaign group ‘Scotland in Union’, is no stranger to controversy.
In July 2015 she hit the headlines after calling SNP MP Mhairi Black “a foul-mouthed slut”.
In July 2014 she claimed people were voting Yes in the independence referendum because they were “less well-educated” and “less bright”.