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House of Commons Hansard
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04 May 2016
Volume 609
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Q14. In 1972, my constituent Susan Lee, aged just 19, having been married for nine months, and six months pregnant with their first child, received a knock on the door to say that her husband Private James Lee had been killed in action in Northern Ireland. When Susan, now Rimmer, married and found love again, she lost all compensation for her and her daughter Donna-Marie, and she still has no compensation for having made that huge sacrifice. That is a disgraceful way to treat those who have lost loved ones who were serving our country. Will the Prime Minister meet me and Mrs Rimmer to discuss this case and the injustice that still faces several hundred more widows in this country? [904876]

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I will make sure that Susan Rimmer gets the meeting and the attention that she deserves. I know that the Minister with responsibility for defence personnel and veterans, my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North (Mark Lancaster), met the War Widows Association earlier this year so that it could put forward its case. Of course, it was this Government who made a historic change so that war widows who remarried, from 1 April 2015, would retain their war widow’s pension. That was a change long asked for and only delivered under this Government. We will continue to look at this issue, but at present we are of the view—this is the long-standing policy of successive Governments—that we should not make these changes and apply them retrospectively.

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Yesterday the Foreign Affairs Committee started our inquiry on Anglo-Russian relations. This afternoon I have a Westminster Hall debate on Anglo-Russian relations. Despite all the tensions between our two countries, will the Prime Minister give us an assurance that he will redouble his efforts to try to lower tensions with that fellow permanent member of the UN Security Council?

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Of course we want to keep tensions low, and of course we want to have good relations, but we cannot ignore the fact that Russian-backed and directed separatists have effectively tried to redraw the boundaries of Europe. When we consider how dangerous such exercises have been in the past, we have to take them extremely seriously in the present.

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May I thank the Prime Minister for joining Leicestershire MPs and the rest of the planet in congratulating Leicester City football club on their brilliant and historic success in the premier league? During this amazing season, local Leicester hero, Gary Lineker, thought the idea of Leicester winning the league was so far-fetched that he said he would present “Match of the Day” in his underwear if they won. Does the Prime Minister, as an Aston Villa supporter—my commiserations to him on their season—agree that, in politics as well as in football, when people make a promise, they should keep it?

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I absolutely agree. I have been watching everything Gary Lineker has said since, and he is not quite answering the question—something that, of course, no one ever gets away with in this House. I welcome what the right hon. Gentleman has said; obviously, I hope it is just the start of him joining the blue team.