Time runs out for widows

Parliamentary efforts to help 5,000 widows who hold accounts at Cheltenham & Gloucester enjoy a pay-out resulting from Leeds Permanent's takeover of the building society were struck down yesterday.

A bill, sponsored by Douglas French, Conservative MP for Gloucester, to amend the 1986 Building Societies Act, which prevents joint-account holders enjoying full rights once their partner is dead, ran into objections when parliamentary time ran out. Mr French said the chances of passing the legislation were very low but vowed he would fight on.