Boris Johnson has admitted the “rape clause” in Universal Credit is an “injustice” that needs to be “rectified”.
The Prime Minister made a dramatic departure today from years of Tory defences of the policy – which makes vulnerable mums state on a form that their child was conceived of rape.
MPs have led years of protests against the clause, which is part of Universal Credit – the successor regime to Tax Credits.
Under rules to restrict benefits to large families, parents can only claim UC child payments for up to two children (for those born after April 2017).
There is an exception to this when a third, fourth, fifth or later child is born of rape. But crucially, victims need to fill out a four-page form to show their exemption.
Campaigners say this is insensitive and forces victims to relive their trauma. As of last year, more than 500 people had to disclose their child was born of rape or a “controlling or coercive relationship”.
DWP ministers have previously insisted the “overall policy is fair” and the rape exemption is handled sensitively, with claimants able to get advice or help from advisors.
But today Boris Johnson said at PMQs : “He draws attention to an injustice and we will do everything we can to rectify it.”
It came after a question from Jeremy Corbyn who asked: “The Prime Minister supports the absolutely horrendous rape clause in the child tax credit rules.
“Why does he think it’s right that 200 mothers have to prove to the government that their child was conceived as a result of being raped so they can keep their child tax credits?”
Mr Johnson said: “On his point about recipients of benefit, it is obviously – er, er – he draws attention to an injustice and we will do everything we can to rectify it.”
As several MPs shouted out in protest, Mr Corbyn replied: “I would hope that means the PM is going to introduce regulations to end the two child policy in the benefits strategy.”
The PM did not confirm any such action and it was unclear at first glance if he mis-spoke.
The 'rape clause', as critics dub it, is a Tory government policy.
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