Leeds war widow’s fight for justice reaches Government ministers

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A Leeds war widow’s fight to have her pension restored is to be discussed by Government ministers.

Otley resident Susan Rimmer is one of 300 women who had compensation for their husbands’ deaths taken away from them. In 1972, her husband, Private James Lee, was killed in service in Northern Ireland by a terrorist bomb. However when Mrs Rimmer remarried in 1989, she lost her pension.

The matter was taken up by her local MP Greg Mulholland, who has described the treatment of Mrs Rimmer and other women as a “national disgrace”. Speaking in Parliament this week, he called for a parliamentary debate on the issue.

Currently, war widows who remarried between 1973 and 2005 cannot claim their pension, which is compensation for their husband paying the ultimate sacrifice for their country, while they are married to their new husbands.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Mulholland said: “At this time of year, when we remember those who died and their families, it is a national disgrace that there is a group of women who still do not receive any support from the state because after grief they again found love. May we have a debate on this injustice and an announcement from the Government that this will finally change?”

Responding, Leader of the House, David Lidington MP, said he would make sure ministers write to Mr Mulholland.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Mulholland added: “This is a very poignant time of the year when we remember those who fought for our country and also gave their lives. By taking care of the loved ones of our service personnel who have given their lives, we honour their service. That’s why it is vital ministers restore the compensation as soon as possible.”

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