SCOTTISH Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne has told the poor to stop having children.

The outrageous comment in the middle of a Holyrood debate on ending austerity, poverty and inequality visibly shocked other MSPs in the parliament yesterday afternoon.

Even her own Tory colleagues seemed to be taken aback by the brutal bluntness of their own party’s welfare spokesperson.

WATCH: Tory MSP's response so brutal even her colleague can't watch

What surprised MSPs further was when it emerged later on that Ballantyne had benefited from tax credits for all six of her children because she’d been on a low wage.

During her speech the Tory said she was proud of reforms brought in by the Government in Westminster.

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell intervened to ask if she was proud to be associated about the rape clause.

The Tory replied: “The two-child limit is about fairness. 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 pay decisions, have to make decisions about the number of children they can have.”

SNP MSP Tom Arthur launched a furious attack on Ballantyne, describing her speech as “six minutes of pompous, Victorian moralising that would have been better suited to the pages of a Dickens novel”.

He added: “And to suggest that poverty should be a barrier to a family, that people who are people who are poor are not entitled to more than two children – what an absolutely disgraceful position, and she should be utterly, utterly ashamed of herself.”

Ballantyne later refused to apologise when confronted by the media at Holyrood.

“It probably didn’t come out as well as it should have,” she said, “But I think it is quite right that we all have to make decisions about the income we have and the number of children we can have accordingly.

“If you have an uncapped benefit, the people who pay for that is the people who aren’t on benefits, and they have to limit the number of children they can have.”

She admitted she had claimed child benefit for each of her six children, as she had been on an income of less than £25,000.

She told the journalists: “Most people would tell you they can’t afford to have more than a couple of children. That’s why the benefit cap isn’t the evil it’s made out to be and we have to be rational and reasonable about it.”

Asked if there was a right number of children for the poor, she said: “I don’t think there is a right number.”

She went on: “I think what’s important is that benefits do enable you to have a family and I do think that’s really important, but I don’t think that benefits should just be unlimited, because how are you going to improve your situation? Benefits should be a springboard to get you out of poverty. That won’t happen if your benefits just rise and rise and rise.”

“At the end of the day, I’m not just sounding off. Government has to make tough choices, Otherwise the whole thing runs amok.”

She said critics of the welfare reforms were having an “emotional reaction”.

Asked if they were having an emotional reaction to the rape clause, she said: “I think they’re having a disproportionate reaction.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “This is the mask of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tory party slipping. These comments by Michelle Ballantyne are abhorrent and show the true views held by senior Tory MSPs – nasty and archaic.”

He called for the comments to be retracted and for Ballantyne to apologise.