Borders MP was absent from WASPI debate

When the Minister for Work and Pensions, MP Guy Opperman, dismissed calls for transitional pension arrangements  during a backbench debate in the House of Commons WASPI campaigners walked out of the public gallery, shouting''shame on you".
When the Minister for Work and Pensions, MP Guy Opperman, dismissed calls for transitional pension arrangements during a backbench debate in the House of Commons WASPI campaigners walked out of the public gallery, shouting''shame on you".

Last week’s House of Commons debate on pension changes that have impacted women born in the 1950s was watched from the gallery by Burnmouth’s Lynne Craighead.

As the Borders WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) representative Lynne had travelled down to hear the MPs debate a motion that called on the Government “to publish proposals to provide a non-means tested bridging solution for all women born on or after April 6, 1950 who are affected by changes to the State Pension age in the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts”.

Lynne said afterwards: “I was there on Thursday in the gallery. Excellent cross party debate and support for three hours.....then Guy Opperman stood up!”

She praised Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan for her contribution adding: “Pity she can’t influence John Lamont to even attend!”

Ms Trevelyan said: “We are yet again debating the plight of 3.8 million women from across the United Kingdom who have been financially impacted by the lack of notice of pension increases.

“Those women have now created one of the biggest campaigns we have witnessed in many years, because Governments of all colours over two decades have failed them.

“Whatever the historical failures of communication on the changes to the pension age, and regardless of which Government failed to get this right over the past 20 years, the key questions for me are how we now start to work together, listen to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and tackle the failure to deal with the WASPI women’s complaints.

John Lamont MP said: “While I am not able to speak in every Westminster debate I would like to, I have always been clear that I am hugely sympathetic to WASPI and to their campaign. I have worked closely with a number of constituents affected by these changes and would encourage anyone who has concerns to get in touch with my office or with their local WASPI group. There have clearly been problems with how the Government has communicated the change. I am committed to helping find a solution which is fair to both women who have paid into their pensions all their lives and to taxpayers.”

East Lothian MP, Martin Whitfield, took part in the debate, saying: “It boils down to poor notice, poor care and apathy for many years. It is time that that finished. There has been maladministration. It is time for us to stand up and admit that, face the consequences, and across this House - and, indeed, across the United Kingdom - find a way to successfully end it.”