Controversial comments from a UK Government minister that described the so-called ‘Rape Clause’ as an “opportunity” for victims of rape to talk about their ordeal, have been edited out of BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme Reporting Scotland.
Appearing before the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee on Monday, UK minister Esther McVey was asked whether she was comfortable with a rape victim having to prove she was raped in order to receive benefits.
The Tory MP defended the so-called ‘Rape Clause’ insisting it was providing “extra help”, before adding: “… 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’s 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.”
However when the item aired on that evening’s Reporting Scotland, the controversial comments from the Tory MP were missing from the programme. Viewers heard McVey’s initial response to Green MSP Alison Johnstone before the video was abruptly cut, the recording resumed briefly with protests being heard from the public gallery.
Presenting the news report was BBC Scotland reporter Glenn Campbell. The reporter’s subdued analysis of the exchanges was the subject of criticism online with some commentators accusing the BBC Scotland reporter of repeating Tory party claims whilst ignoring well-documented criticism of the ‘Rape Clause’ from respected organisations.
One social media user said: “Love Glenn repeating Tory DWP claims without the slightest attempt at him doing his job as a journalist and investigating whether they are true or not. Not even so much as a “…but critics say” or any mention of such critics of Tory DWP policy as the United Nations or UNICEF.”
Another lamented the state of BBC Scotland: “What an outlet, it’s horrific that people require to complete a form to say they been raped and conceived a child. What disgusting barbaric behaviour. Clear to this day, to be a Conservative you clearly have a piece of your humanity and soul missing.”
The Tory policy has already been described as ‘shameful’ by the British Medical Association.
The comments from McVey were described by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as “outrageous”.
The SNP leader was responding to a tweet posted by the Editor of Holyrood magazine Mandy Rhodes who herself appeared shocked by the Tory MP’s comments.
SNP MSP Gillian Martin tweeted: “Esther McVey’s words here beggar belief. She’s trying to pass off the Tory rape clause as “an opportunity”. No wonder the public gallery was in uproar. Absolutely disgraceful.”
The decision by Reporting Scotland to edit out McVey’s controversial comments will come as no surprise to many pro-independence critics of BBC Scotland. The corporation has faced a string of complaints over the pro-Ruth nature of its Scottish political output from viewers north of the border. The BBC continually refuses to accept there is anything wrong with its Scottish political output.
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