MP hits out at criticism over his support for women’s pensions

MORAY’S MP HAS reiterated his promise to work for Moray women who have been affected by changes to their retirement ages.

When insideMORAY called upon all candidates to support the plight of over 4000 women in the region who had been fighting for a fair pensions deal, Douglas Ross responded by ignoring central advice from his party to sign a pledge of support to the Moray branch of the WASPI campaign.

However, this week the MP has been criticised by political opponents locally for not signing a Westminster Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of WASPI nationally.

WASPI are campaigning for a rethink over their retirement arrangements, many having seen rules changes not once but twice that meant they were expected to change their retirement arrangements at short notice.

For many of the affected women born in the early 1950’s that meant an additional six years to wait – with thousands insisting that they did not receive any written warning of the changes. The women accept that equalisation of retirement ages for men and women was acceptable, their complaint is the manner in which it has been imposed.

Responding to criticism of his support of WASPI, Douglas Ross MP told insideMoray: “When I signed the WASPI pledge during the election it was a promise to work for the women affected if elected and that is exactly what I plan to do.

“I have taken a decision not to support any EDMs in Westminster and I note not every SNP member has signed the WASPI one – but I assume that does not mean they don’t support the campaign. Some of the comments made against me on social media on this issue show a complete misunderstanding of the process and sadly this has been repeated by elected SNP politicians.”

The MP pointed out that he was not able to speak to the WASPI debate this week in Westminster as he had not yet made his maiden speech as an MP, meaning he could not be called to speak to any issue.

He added: “I was pleased that my first meeting as an MP was with the Moray WASPI group who seemed to accept my explanation for not signing the motion or being able to speak in the debate. It is interesting that opposition politicians are making more of this than the people I am working with to find a solution.

“I would also add that having sat through the entire debate at Westminster Hall, I am more determined than ever to add my voice to those fighting for these women and I look forward to contributing to future debates on this issue.”