Monday, January 20, 2020

Tory leadership hopeful defends comment that people on benefits “cannot have as many children as they like”

Scottish Tory leadership candidate doubles down on "ugly" comments made about benefit claimants.

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The SNP has today said that the Scottish Tory leadership contest will reveal the “ugly reality” of the party – after one candidate defended her shocking claim that people on benefits “cannot have as many children as they like.”

In an interview with Good Morning Scotland, Michelle Ballantyne doubled down on her disgraceful comments, saying that she is in the contest to help “working people” and claimed people with jobs should have the “same opportunities” as those who are unemployed.

Ms Ballanytne told the presenter: “What I said is that we need a level playing field. So people who are in work need to have the same opportunities as people who aren’t in work.”

In 2018, Ballantyne backed the controversial two-child benefit limit, which resricts benefits to the fist two children born into a household, telling MSPs that “people on benefit cannot have as many children as they like while people who work and pay their way and don’t claim benefits have to make decisions about the number of children they can have.”

It is not the first time that Ms Ballantyne has argued that welfare recipients should have limits imposed on their right to a family life.

In an interview in May 2018, she said: “That’s a debate we’re going to have to have in Scotland in terms of whether we feel there should be no restriction on the number of children you can have.”

The SNP recently shone a light on the extent of offensive statements and ill-judged comments made by Jackson Carlaw – and his enthusiastic support for hard-line policies such as the two-child cap and ‘rape clause.’

Christine Grahame MSP said: “This week, the ugly reality of the Tories in Scotland has been exposed – with both would-be leaders shown to be mired in controversy, offering a home to prejudiced views, and doubling down on offensive statements.

“While Jackson Carlaw has acted as an enthusiastic cheerleader for Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit and the very worst Tory policies, Michelle Ballantyne has consistently shown a chilling indifference to those in need – shedding light on the true character of the Tory party.

“The Tories want to pull the wool over people’s eyes and pretend this leadership contest is all about independence.

“The reality is that this election will show that that the Scottish Tories are no different to their UK counterparts when it comes to pushing people into poverty and placing our public services under threat.

“Both candidates seem more than happy to see the Tory party dragged even further to the right – which clearly shows just how important it is that the people of Scotland are given a say on their own future.”

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