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SNP MP criticises ex-pension minister's knighthood

SNP MP criticises ex-pension minister's knighthood

SNP MP Alan Brown has said the government's decision to award former pensions minister Steve Webb with a knighthood is an 'insult' to women campaigning about increases in the state pension age (SPA).

Webb (pictured) was awarded a knighthood in the New Year's honours list for political and public service. 

The former Liberal Democrat MP was pensions minister in the coalition government between 2010 and 2015. He lost his seat in the 2015 General Election, and is now director of policy at Royal London. 

During Webb's time as pensions minister, the government passed the 2011 Pensions Act which sped up increases in the SPA for women to bring it in line with the SPA for men.

Brown criticised the knighthood during prime minister's questions today. He said the honour was unfair to the women against state pension inequality (Waspi) campaign, which is 

'[Webb] was rightly booted out by the voters but is yet now deemed suitable for a knighthood,' he said. 

'Unless this government takes action to help the struggling Waspi women, they should understand that this knighthood is a final insult to these women.'

Prime minister Theresa May hit back at Brown and said the government had done enough to help those affected by the changes. 

'Action has been taken in relation to women's pensions. The government took action to ensure that the number of people who were affected,' she said. 

'If you look at the new structure that is being put in place for pensions, actually women will be some of the greater beneficaries.'

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