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Tory minister heckled by public at Holyrood committee

Esther McVey's defence of Universal Credit angered some members of the public.

Heckled: Esther McVey faced a tough time at Holyrood.
Heckled: Esther McVey faced a tough time at Holyrood. PA

A Conservative minister was heckled by the public as she defended her government's welfare changes before a Holyrood committee.

Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey faced a barrage of questioning from Holyrood's social security committee on Monday, with answers proving to annoy some of those watching.

One member of the public gallery shouted "you can't get into work if you're dead" after the minister argued Universal Credit was a "supportive system" which helped people off welfare and into employment.

The heckling, which led to the committee being suspended until order was restored, followed questioning from SNP MSP Ben MacPherson who asked McVey to apologise for the "suffering and distress" caused by the "cynical and critical" system her government had created.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1400826-sturgeon-universal-credit-roll-out-is-morally-repugnant/ | default

McVey said: "I am not oblivious to people who are incredibly vulnerable or who are in need, and obviously the gentleman felt he needed to have his points said about something that was very important to him and about somebody who was very vulnerable."

She said her department reaches out to vulnerable people.

The committee meeting was suspended for a second time due to heckling from the public after McVey defended the rape clause, a form that women must fill in for additional child benefit if their third child was conceived through rape.

She said this offers women potentially "double support" through money and an opportunity to talk they may have "never had before".

McVey faced further questioning on Universal Credit during the rest of her time in Edinburgh, with SNP MSP George Adam said her approach is "completely devoid from the real world".

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1387400-ruth-davidson-on-rape-clause-all-they-do-is-tick-a-box/ | default

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