Posted: Fri 25th Nov 2016

Assembly Member Urges Welsh MPs to Take Up Baton in Deeside War Widows Campaign

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Nov 25th, 2016

Assembly Member Carl Sargeant who’s campaigning for pension justice for War Widows has asked Welsh Labour MPs to take up the baton in Parliament.

The Alyn and Deeside AM has been pushing the Ministry of Defence to give all UK war widows equal rights to a war widow’s pension for life, regardless of whether or when they remarry.

Mr Sargeant first took up the case in June with Kath Webster, the widow of Sergeant Malcolm Wigley of Connah’s Quay who died in the Falklands War in 1982.

Mrs Webster had to surrender her war widows’ pension when she remarried, yet from April 1 2015 war widow pensions were awarded for life, with the rule only applying going forward.

A disappointing series of letters between Mr Sargeant and Mark Lancaster MP took place this summer, in which the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans said the UK Government cannot apply pension changes retrospectively because of the financial implications.

Mr Sargeant recently received a response from David Isaac CBE, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, giving his findings on whether the UK Government had a case of discrimination to answer.

Mr Isaac found that although there may be indirect discrimination, legally this can be justified if the Government can show that the aim of the rules is legitimate and the means of achieving it is proportionate.

Therefore although not impossible a legal challenge would be difficult and prohibitively expensive for Mr Sargeant and Mrs Webster to take on.

[miptheme_quote author=”Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant” style=”boxquote text-left”]I’ve now written to all my colleagues who are Welsh Labour Members of Parliament, drawing their attention to the plight of Kath and around 300 like her who are similarly affected,

I’m appealing for them to take the baton from me, get involved and bring this issue up in the House of Commons.

The MP Greg Mulholland has been working on this but I feel there is real interest in, and need for, a Welsh campaign on this issue.

Together I hope we can put pressure on the UK Government and get Kath and other widows like her the rights they deserve and that others receive.[/miptheme_quote]

A petition launched by Mr Sargeant and Mrs Webster has attracted 538 signatures and can be signed at here or a paper copy signed at Carl Sargeant’s office at 70 High Street, Connah’s Quay. Any other war widows affected locally can contact the office at 01244 823547 or email [email protected]

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