The Scottish Tory leader was branded a “disgrace” by Ms Sturgeon after she backed the controversial policy, which caps child credit support at two kids.
Women can claim tax credits for a subsequent child if the conception was the result of rape – but they must prove this by filling out an eight-page form.
The SNP has the power to create new benefits so, in theory, could introduce additional funding
If Nicola Sturgeon simply wants to use this to complain about the policies of the UK Government – and not act at Holyrood when she has the power to do so – then she leaves herself open to the charge of gross hypocrisy
Ms Sturgeon pushed Ms Davidson to “break her silence” and condemn the policy, which has caused considerable outrage among voters since it was announced in George Osborne’s July 2015 Budget.
The First Minister said: “Despite her claims to be an upfront, straight-talking politician, so far Ruth Davidson has hidden behind a Tory spokesperson as her party continues to defend the punitive and inhumane policy.”
The Scottish Tory leader hit back, daring Ms Sturgeon to use her new Holyrood powers to set out her position.
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Ms Davidson said: “We support the exemptions which the UK Government has put in place on restrictions to child tax credits, and we want to see the UK Government implement them in the most compassionate way possible. That work is on-going.
“The SNP has said it opposes the two-child policy on tax credits, so it now has a choice to make.
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“At Holyrood, we now have the power to create new benefits. So the Scottish Government could, if it wanted, propose a new benefit to provide funding for families with more than two children.”
George Osborne proposed the child tax credit reforms back in 2015
She added: “Of course this would have to be paid for, but if the SNP Government believes this to be of such importance, then it can act.
“However, if Nicola Sturgeon simply wants to use this to complain about the policies of the UK Government – and not act at Holyrood when she has the power to do so – then she leaves herself open to the charge of gross hypocrisy.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has written to Ms Davidson to call on her to stand up to the ‘rape clause’.
Ruth Davidson has come under fire after backing the controversial reforms
She wrote: “The rape clause should shame every single Tory MSP.
“Surely it is time to once again tell your colleagues in Westminster that you do not agree with them.
“There is cross-party support against this policy in Westminster and Holyrood. Why don’t you join with us and condemn this appalling act?”