Eastbourne’s former MP labelled a ‘shameless opportunist’

Stephen Lloyd said he had no hesitation in backing the Eastbourne branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign

Stephen Lloyd said he had no hesitation in backing the Eastbourne branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign

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A political war of words has broken out between Conservatives and former Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd over supporting women in their pension rights battle.

More than 4,700 local women born in the 1950s are affected by new rules brought in which mean they cannot claim a state pension until 66 when they were told it would be 60.

Eastbourne Tory party leader Tony Freebody called Mr Lloyd a “shameless opportunist” for supporting the women and said it was the ex-Liberal Democrat MP who voted for the law depriving them of cash in the first place and also voted against a Labour Party amendment asking for transitional arrangements.

Mr Freebody said, “It appears to me Mr Lloyd will often say and do anything to give the impression he is a principled man fighting injustice when, in this case, it’s quite the opposite – he is a shameless opportunist trying to gain publicity on the back of injustice he helped create.

“He was part of the bill committee and he voted against transitional arrangements. He then voted for the bill, minus transitional arrangements, and it became law.

“I would like to know how he wants to explain that to women born in the 1950s who now find themselves unable to retire or in financial hardship because of what he helped do.”

Mr Lloyd said he had no hesitation in backing the Eastbourne branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign.

“It is a matter of public record that when I was on the Work and Pensions Select Committee I pressed the then Government to reconsider its decision to push back the pension ages for women born in the early to mid 50s as I did not feel they were given enough time to make the necessary transition arrangements.

“With other Lib Dem colleagues we also succeeded in reducing the taper period from 22 months to 18 months.

“This was progress of sorts but I felt at the time and still feel that the Government could have been more generous, which is why I have no hesitation in backing the WASPI campaign.”

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