HL Deb 19 December 2002 vol 642 c136WA
Lord Tomlinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What role the Attorney-General plays in the firefighters' dispute. [HL260]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith)

I have the power to apply to the court for an injunction to prevent threatened breaches of the criminal law. This power is to be exercised in the public interest, which I exercise in my independent judgment in my role as Attorney-General rather than as a member of government. Such an application is always exceptional and is instituted only where there is the prospect of genuine, serious and irreparable harm and I judge that it is in the public interest to make the application.

It is my duty to keep under constant review the question whether to exercise this power. In order to determine where the public interest lies I may consult, as I have been doing. with my ministerial colleagues to ensure that I am properly informed as to the public interest consultations arising. I have been informed also of the views of fire authority representatives in relation to the potential threat to public safety. But the power to apply for an injunction is one for me as the Attorney-General to exercise in the public interest and the decision is for me alone.