Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) (Lab)
I can beat the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith) on length of speech, because, not wishing to draw the wrath of Madam Deputy Speaker, I have crossed out 95% of my speech.
As the newly elected chair of the all-party group on state pension inequality for women, I feel obliged to say to the Government that they have missed the opportunity to make provision for that women group of women we have come to know fondly as WASPI, although many other pressure groups with different names are also lobbying for the same cause. I have promised those women that I intend to work with every group to fight this injustice and give them a voice. I will come to the Chamber at every given opportunity to speak up for them until they get justice. All they ask for is a simple transitional payment to support them financially until they reach state pension age. I say to the Government that the problem is not going away. The Bill does not do what it should have done, which was look after the WASPI women, and I fear the Government will regret that.
Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab)
We have had a good, almost conciliatory debate, but we have also rightly focused on the opportunity that the Government have missed to bring forward an appropriate Bill that addresses the issues surrounding pensions. The Chamber again heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris) on the plight of the thousands of WASPI women left stranded by this Tory Government, who selfishly and needlessly accelerated the state pension age, leaving many women no time to make alternative provision for themselves in their 60s. If one line was added to the Bill to extend pension credit to the WASPI women—that is our policy—it would have gone a long way to pacifying us this evening.
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