LABOUR’s manifesto plan to scrap the rape clause will still mean women being forced to disclose their rape to the government to receive benefits.

In their manifesto, published yesterday, Labour made no mention of reversing the Tory two-child limit, for which the so-called rape clause is an exemption, saying they would commit to a £2 billion “reform and redesign” of Universal Credit, the new benefit replacing tax credits.

What Labour would do is scrap the need for a women to fill in a form to claim exemption.

Loading article content

But the mother would still need to disclose that she had been raped and this would presumably still be officially recorded by the government.

Alison Thewliss, the SNP politician who has led the campaign against the policy, said voters should not trust Labour.

Corbyn had said: “Labour will end the abhorrent rape clause across the UK," and added: “Only a Labour government that works for the many, not the few, can bring this policy to an end.”

Thewliss told The National it was worth remembering that Labour had abstained in the Commons vote on the child tax credit limit.

“Labour are not to be trusted on this. They didn’t realise its significance when it appeared in the Tory Budget and they failed to oppose it, whilst the SNP asked questions again and again.

"The SNP believe all children should be treated equally and Labour’s commitment to this issue has to be questioned.

"It’s not at all clear if they will remove the rape clause or just the eight-page form.

"The abhorrent rape clause and regressive family cap doesn’t need reviewed – it needs scrapped, binned, once and for all.”

Just last month, in an incredibly powerful speech, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said making a woman disclose her rape in return for welfare was “horrific”.

She told MSPs: “A woman must either admit to being raped and to having a child born of that physically, mentally and emotionally scarring crime, and get the financial help that she needs, or she must go without.

"Without a doubt, the Tories’ family cap is arbitrary and unfair, and the rape clause that accompanies it is utterly horrific and abhorrent.”

A Labour source said: “Alison Thewliss has been an inspiration with her work to expose the horrific rape clause. The SNP cannot abolish this clause across the UK, but Labour can. We very much hope the SNP will work with us to ensure that this vile Tory policy is binned once and for all.”

Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender said: "We're encouraged to hear Labour commit to ending the two-child limit as part of a wider programme of social security review.

"However, we remain concerned about the 'rape clause' due to the intrinsic harm caused by forcing women to disclose rape at a time not of their choosing, and the implications for their privacy and the privacy of their children.

"We suggest that Labour leadership engages with expert women's organisations across the four nations of the UK to develop appropriate interim arrangements."

Corbyn was also forced to clarify his position on welfare after telling reporters he would not keep the Tory benefit freeze, a promise not in the manifesto or associated costings.