It is a pleasure to take part in this Backbench Business Committee debate. I commend Mhairi Black for her opening remarks and pay tribute to the WASPI campaign, particularly to Marion and Anne and all the other ladies who helped campaign on this important issue. I have worked long and hard with them over the past few months. We have had meetings with my hon. Friends the Members for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) and for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds). I lobbied my constituents with the WASPI group in Morrisons in Denton recently and I think that I was the first in this Parliament to raise the issue at Prime Minister’s Question Time. I am therefore glad that the subject has been brought to the Floor of the House for a full debate.
A very real injustice has been done to this group of women born in the 1950s. We can go through the history again: there have been two changes to their state pension age and, if that were not bad enough, the real injustice has been the acceleration of the process, which has left many women who were not expecting the changes having to make alternative arrangements. When it came to the private pensions of Members of Parliament, those within 10 years of their normal state pension age could remain on the old scheme, but the group of women we are considering have had no chance to put in place their alternative arrangements.