Conservative MSP faces calls to resign over eugenic comments about benefits claimants

Michelle Ballantyne

 Michelle Ballantyne MSP

A Conservative Member, of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) has said welfare claimants ‘cannot have as many children as they like’ during her defence of the government’s welfare reforms.

The Conservative spokesperson on social security made the claim that poor people should not have more than two children, during a debate on poverty and inequality at Holyrood. The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP, intervened to ask whether the spokesperson was “proud of the two child limit and proud of the rape clause”.  

MSP Michelle Ballantyne said, “It is fair 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 don’t have to make decisions about the number of children they have”.

Ballantyne seems to have overlooked the fact that many people may have their children while in work. Over the last eight years, employment has become precarious, with many people moving in and out of work frequently. Furthermore, as wages have stagnated and been devalued, many people in work also rely on welfare to ensure they can meet their basic needs. Yet she implies that those claiming social security are a distinct class of  people who don’t work.  

Scottish National Party MSP, Tom Arthur, furiously criticised Ballantyne’s offensive eugenic suggestion, stating: “In my two and half years in this parliament, the contribution from Michelle Ballantyne was one of the most disgraceful speeches I have ever heard.

“Six minutes of pompous Victorian moralising, that would have been better suited to the pages of a Dickens novel.

“And to suggest that poverty should be a barrier to a family, that people who are poor are not entitled to any more than two children – what an absolutely disgraceful position.

“And she should be utterly, utterly ashamed of herself.”

Ballantyne previously called for a debate on “whether we feel there should be no restriction on the number of children you can have”.  She was widely condemned for her appalling defence of the two-child cap on benefits.

Ballantyne has argued previously that welfare recipients should have limits imposed on their right to a family life. In an interview in May this year, 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.”

She added: “If you are looking for it in terms of what is nice, and what feels good then it’s easy to say we shouldn’t impose limits.”

In the same interview, Ballantyne made the ludicrous claim that, while foodbank demand was rising, “what we haven’t got is hard evidence about what the real causes are… I haven’t yet seen the concrete evidence of where that’s coming from.”

Foodbank providers have repeatedly provided evidence linking demand with Conservative welfare policy, including sanctions and the roll-out of Universal Credit.

SNP MSP Tom Arthur said: “The mask has well and truly slipped. Michelle Ballantyne’s horrific comments were not a slip of the tongue, but instead reflected her long-standing views.

“And now that these previous, utterly unacceptable comments about imposing a ‘restriction’ on the number of children people should have has come to light, she should withdraw the remark and apologise for it.

“The two child cap will put 150,000 Scottish children at greater risk of poverty by 2021 – but to Michelle Ballantyne, that’s a price worth paying so she can lecture those in low paid work or who’ve fallen on hard times.

“The Tories truly are the nasty party.”

Arthur has since called on Ballantyne to resign. He said: “Michelle Ballantyne’s comments were vile and ignorant – and should have no place in Scottish political life”, he said.

“Given her comments, and what we now know about her hypocrisy and her form on the issue, Michelle Ballantyne’s position as Tory welfare spokesperson is completely untenable.

“That Ruth Davidson thought someone with Ms Ballantyne’s views would be acceptable in this role is all we need to know about the Scottish Tories.

“If Ms Davidson and her Deputy won’t remove Ms Ballantyne she should resign as Tory welfare spokesperson – otherwise it will be clear that the Tories are prepared to drag the debate into the gutter as their welfare cuts drive more and more children into poverty.”

The two-child policy was passed into law via universal credit. The original idea for treating children as a commodity and moralising about what items poor people should spend their money on came from Iain Duncan Smith – the Tory consensus is definitely no flat screen TVs, (has anyone tried to buy one that isn’t flat-screened now?) or iphones, and certainly not more children than the government deems appropriate for poorer families.

The Conservatives really do think like this. It’s not just a ‘slip’ by one nasty MSP. It’s now a fundamental part of the wretched and punitive welfare policy framework. 

And the punch line:


The government’s eugenic policy is forcing some women to abort wanted pregnancies

The government’s eugenic turn violates human rights, costing families at least £2,800 each so far, according to DWP statistics

UN to question the Conservatives about the two-child restriction on tax credits

A brief history of social security and the reintroduction of eugenics by stealth

Eugenics is hiding behind Hitler, and informs Tory policies

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20 thoughts on “Conservative MSP faces calls to resign over eugenic comments about benefits claimants

  1. This policy cannot honestly be described as eugenics. There is no prohibition on those claiming benefits from having a family life. You can have a family life with a two child family. There is also no prohibition having more than two children. Claimants simply cannot expect to be supported by the state, in having a family with more then two children. Most families have two children anyway. Its not unusual.


    1. You missed the point made that the majority of those claiming social security are actually in work. Of those that aren’t, most of those will move into work, but given the insecurity of jobs currently, they are likely to move off and on welfare. Many people have their children while they are relatively prosperous, it’s hardly fair to penalise those children when their parents fall on hard times.

      The state is not supporting them, the money for welfare comes from public funds paid by the public FOR the public should they need support. Most people claiming welfare have worked and paid tax and national insurance. That also includes disabled people. Most of them have also worked and paid into the treasury. For those that can’t, as a so-called civilised society we SHOULD support them

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I used to hate the word “entitlement” But We all are Entitled because every adult whether or not they are working Pay National Insurance as well as VAT! The government, apparently is sitting on about 32b of NI contributions. Benefits are ment to protect everyone from cradle to grave. This government is actually committing wholesale theft from everyone and playing God! Someone somewhere must be able to hold them account otherwise the passive-aggressive Murder Will go on.

        What we need is One Very Brave lawyer to help sue the government, if that is at all possible!! Surely the tories can’t be above the law!!!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. If a limit has to be placed on child benefits, then it might be better to remove benefit entitlement for a first or only child, as I believe was once the case?


    2. What say you are a single parent and you have 5 children, you will only get benefits for 3 of that 6 person household. Benefits are not enough to sustain 1 person let alone the 3 you don’t get benefit for who do you not feed? You can’t starve yourself because without you they can’t survive. You can’t slim their food down because they will suffer greatly in the long run and meybe become disabled if not dead!, and that is Without adding an addiction the parent might have, also now add in an abusive parent who thinks nothing of starving their children to keep costs down, it does happen. It happened to me! My mother and her partner never drank or took drugs but she starved me and there was only ever two children in the family. Desperation always finds a way! What would you do? Epecially as benefits are being constantly slashed?!!!

      It is also leading society to to another problem, as this government are so Set on getting rid of immgrants Where do you think the future workforce will suddenly appear from? If it is not about eugenics then I don’t know what is!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It seems to me that since you decided to take a rest from this blog you have actually been working harder and publishing more than ever before so I just hope you’re OK Sue x


  3. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:
    The Chinese imposed a one child per couple limit and Britain condemned it, Indira Gandhi proposed that the poor should have their women sterilised, once again Britain condemned it, yet here we are with the Conservatives offering the final solution by having the poor(working class)rstricted to two children while the wealthy have no such restrictions.
    Since the Tories do not class zero contract victims among the number of unemployed, nor those on part-time work, nor the self employed (the highest it’s been since 1928) on unsustainable income(in order to misrepresent the number of unemployed)exactly how are they intending to implement thiss latest assault on the working class. I wonder if they intend encouraging pregnant but poor women free terminations for the third child? Perhaps they’ll just offer to jail them!
    There are so many ramifications on this latest discrimination against the poor and working class(many poor are actually in work)and the disabled(because, as we all know, we are liabilities, rather than useful members of society)the complexity of which is a reflection of the addled and numb nut Tory thinking, at it’s worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “The total fertility rate in the United Kingdom 1.88 children born to women as of 2017.”

    “The total fertility rate of the United Kingdom is 1.92 children per woman, according to data from 2012. The number of children born to foreign-born mothers has increased to encompass over one-quarter of the total population, and statistics from 2014 show that the fertility of foreign-born women living in the UK is higher than native women of child-bearing age.”

    So it looks as though the total fertility has reduced and that the Tory statistical logic is baseless, although it may, more likely, be based on pure spitefulness.

    As for unlawfulness, I’m told they make up laws as the need arises and when someone who can afford it takes them to court they are usually thrown out. Even though they know the rules to be unlawful they continue as before. The most publicised example is the Snoopers Charter – still in use after being declared illegal. I think I posted a personal example some 18 months or more ago where my Freedom of Information request was ignored by the local council because it involved the DWP.

    Liked by 1 person

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