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Scottish leadership hopeful once called for benefits claimants to stop having children

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said Michelle Ballantyne ‘represents exactly the politics that have plunged so many low-income families into poverty’

A SCOTTISH Tory leadership hopeful has been accused of making a “sick joke” after claiming she would champion low earners if elected despite once calling for those on benefits to stop having children.

Ahead of the launch of her campaign to lead the party today, South Scotland MP Michelle Ballantyne set out her vision for the future of the Conservatives north of the border.

In her campaign video, Ms Ballantyne claimed that working people in Scotland need the Tories to win the 2021 Holyrood elections and that she was the leader to deliver that.

She insisted that the party “should champion low earners” and under her leadership would “stand up for the working people and communities let down by the SNP and Labour.”

But in 2018 the Tory MSP was heavily criticised by anti-poverty charities after saying people on benefits should stop having children.

Ms Ballantyne’s website also claims that she will ensure justice is on the side of victims, despite previously backing the notorious child tax credit “rape clause” in what was described as a “disgraceful” and “nasty” speech.

This clause requires benefit claimants to prove that their child was conceived by rape in order to receive tax credits for their third child.

Ms Ballantyne was slammed by Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who said: “Michelle Ballantyne represents exactly the politics that have plunged so many low-income families into poverty and reliance on food banks.

“It is a sick joke that she would ever be the representative of working-class communities.

“She embodies the spirit of Thatcherism that is alive and well in the Scottish Tory Party.”

The campaign to elect Michelle Ballantyne as the leader of the Scottish Tories had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

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