Richard BenyonMain Page: Richard Benyon (Conservative) - Newbury)
Department Debates - View all Richard Benyon's debates with the Cabinet Office
First, I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman as he leaves this House. Indeed, I repeat my congratulations to all hon. Members who are standing down on the service they have given.
The hon. Gentleman raises the issue of the WASPI women. As he knows, it is a very difficult and very emotionally charged issue. We have done our best to try to satisfy that group. Another £1 billion has, I think, been allocated to the support of WASPI pensioners. I would just remind Opposition Members who are chuntering at me that under the Labour Government I seem to remember female pensions went up by 75p. That was their approach to pension rights for women. We are looking at what more we can do to satisfy that issue but, as he knows, it is very difficult.
I thank my right hon. Friend for all the service he has given to this Government and this country. I remember vividly campaigning with him on one occasion when we were interrupted by a dog show. He has done particularly important work on conserving oceans. He has helped to ensure that this country has global leadership in establishing marine conservation areas around the planet. As you know, Mr Speaker, this country protects a vast expanse of the oceans, more than any country on earth, and it is thanks to the work of my right hon. Friend that we have put that issue at the forefront of our politics, protecting marine life and protecting not just the fish but the penguins as well. As he will know, a third of the world’s Emperor penguins are British. He has done a signal job of protecting those penguins and I thank him for it.