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Clause 1 — Equalisation of and increase in pensionable age for men and women

Part of Concessionary Bus Travel (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 18th October 2011.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:30 pm, 18th October 2011

Perhaps we can have that conversation another time. The point is that the Government do not have the political will to do something about this. In opening for the Opposition, my hon. Friend the Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East mentioned that it is not just the Prime Minister of this Government who does not “get” women; the whole team do not “get” women.

At Prime Minister’s questions two weeks ago, I watched the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Private Secretary gathering—almost dragging—women from their seats in order to create a female halo around the Prime Minister. He and his Government need to understand that the reason he is turning women off has nothing to do with stage management or presentation. The reason is the policies—such as the one we are discussing—which are adversely and unfairly impacting on women. I urge Liberal Democrat Members in particular, who have at times pushed the Government on this issue, to go the whole hog tonight and back the amendment.

When a Government consider an inequality impact assessment, that is not political correctness gone mad—it is not just something the previous Labour Government left for the current Government. Rather, it is about good government and good decision making, so that when a Government make a decision, they are in full possession of the facts about how that decision will impact on people.