Lothian’s Tory MSP, Jeremy Balfour, has come under attack for proposing an amendment to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill that would require terminally ill Scots who hadn’t died within three years to have their benefits claim reassessed.

Balfour appears to have made an embarrassing u-turn and withdrawn the amendment which read “At the end of a period of three years beginning with the day on which the individual applied for such assistance, the individual is still living, the Scottish Ministers must review the individual’s entitlement to assistance.”

The amendment came to light on the Scottish Parliament website ahead of today’s social security committee’s stage 2 hearing of evidence on the Social Security Bill. 

The Daily Record reports that Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said the “disgusting proposal” was evidence of how “callous and inhuman the Tories are”.

She added: “Jeremy Balfour’s brutal measure would single out the terminally-ill, going even further than Theresa May’s cruel government.

“Terminally-ill people deserve support and care – not cruel assessments to check if they are still dying.

“Once again the mask has slipped from the Scottish Tories – they are the same old nasty party. It is now incumbent on Ruth Davidson to confirm if she backs her MSP.”

It is not the first time that Balfour, who is disabled himself, has caused controversy having called gay weddings a “false image of marriage” and previously served as a director of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, a think tank that published a report questioning the morality of rape victims who take the morning-after pill.

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