THIS week the SNP had what is called an Opposition Day. Opposition Days, I’m sure you will know, are days allocated to opposition parties in the House of Commons which give us an opportunity to debate topics we choose. Our first debate topic was the issue of the unfair hardship which has been placed on women born in the 1950’s as a result of the equalisation of the state pension age.

I won’t go into the finer details of this issue as I have written about it many times before and The National has done a fantastic job covering the issue, so I’m sure you will already be well versed on the topic. But in case you don’t know, to quickly summarise, in 1995 the Government of the day passed a bill which equalised the age at which women and men receive state pension (no one is unhappy about equalisation or trying to stop equalisation), this included a timetable for these changes to take effect, a 10-year transition over 10 years from 2010 to 2020. The coalition Government then, in 2011, proceeded to put forward a heavily accelerated timetable. The Government did not write to inform the women affected until 14 years after the 1995 Act was passed, meaning these women didn’t get a chance to alter their retirement plans and are now suffering undue hardship.

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The motion we put forward for debate is as follows:

“That this House calls on the Government to improve transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6 April 1951 who have been adversely affected by the acceleration of the increase to the state pension age.”

Our argument is simple. Successive Governments didn’t notify women about these changes, they are now suffering because of that mistake, and they should look for a way to resolve the problem.

Instead of agreeing to work towards a solution the Government wheeled out their usual tired arguments. Women in their 60’s should go and get apprenticeships and retrain is one of the suggestions. This astounds me. Are the Government not aware of how pitifully low their minimum wage for apprentices is? It’s £3.50 an hour. They also then argue that it’s just too expensive to fix so these women just have to suck it up and deal with it. Yet, when they need billions for new nukes, or a billion to buy themselves into another five years of power, they find it no bother. Then, when those arguments aren’t washing, they turn to the Scottish Government and try to say they should fix it.

To be clear, Labour and the Tories voted together to ensure that the Scotland Bill 2016 did not give Holyrood that power — but reality doesn’t seem to faze the Tories.

Reading that motion back again I don’t see how anyone could accuse the SNP of putting forward a hostile or party-political motion. In fact, the motion was deliberately written to be nonpartisan so as to not alienate any of the Tory MPs who have shown their support for the WASPI cause. Yet it seemed to really irk Douglas Ross and Ross Thomson, two of the new Scottish Tory MPs. Ross Thomson went on quite the rant about it in fact, and accusing the SNP of party political points scoring which will achieve nothing for the WASPI women. If you can reconcile that motion with party political point scoring let me know, because I can’t.

The Scottish Tories have a brass neck to talk about political point scoring after the shambles of a budget the Chancellor delivered the week prior. The budget where the Chancellor explained that the pleads of Scottish Tories were the only ones that mattered when it came to discussing Scotland.

In his budget, the Chancellor finally agreed to scrap VAT for the Scottish Police and Fire Services, but not before shoehorning in that this was only because the Scottish Tories had asked nicely.

Sounds an awful lot to me like the Chancellor was really saying that he’ll do what’s right for Scotland but only if they vote the way I want. The irony that this comes from the party that likes to accuse every other party of “buying votes”.

Ultimately the SNPs motion passed 288 votes to 0. Ross Thomson was so enraged that he forgot to vote.

The Government now have 12 weeks to respond to our motion, and I truly hope that — this time — they will see sense and find a way to help these women who are suffering through no fault of their own.