Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Prime Minister make it his policy to introduce an ex gratia scheme to compensate war widows who had their war widow’s pension withdrawn on cohabitation or remarriage?
The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend has made this point to me in person. I have heard from the war widows themselves about their own concerns. The Ministry of Defence is looking at what can be done to provide meaningful support to those who have lost their loved ones.
Dr Lewis: Given that the previous Defence Secretary sought and was refused permission from the Treasury to help the estimated 265 war widows whose pensions were cancelled when they remarried, and can be permanently restored only by their going through a divorce and remarriage to their second husbands, will the Prime Minister personally meet Moira Kane and Mary Moreland of the War Widows’ Association finally to put an end to this deplorable and dishonourable situation?
The Prime Minister: The Ministry of Defence is looking at this very problem, and I am conscious of the issue that my right hon. Friend raises – it has been raised with me. I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to meet the chairman of the War Widows’ Association to discuss further what we can do.