HL Deb 25 March 2003 vol 646 cc67-8WA
Lord Burlison

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Armed Forces remain deployed to provide emergency fire cover.[HL2279]

Lord Rooker

I am pleased to announce that the Armed Forces personnel deployed on firefighting duties have been stood down on the grounds that no further strike dates will be announced before the Fire Brigades Union recalled conference on 15 April. The FBU would then be required to give seven days' notice of any further strike.

Lord Vivian

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the event of a further firefighters' strike, how many troops will be required for Operation Fresco; and whether this will interfere with any plans to deploy additional troops for the purpose of guarding Iraqi prisoners of war.[HL2164]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach)

The Armed Forces commitment to providing emergency fire and rescue cover during the national firemen's strike remains the same now as it has been from the outset, with some 19,000 personnel currently being committed to Operation Fresco. While there is an inevitable impact on other Armed Forces operations, this is being kept to the minimum and will not interfere with plans to guard prisoners of war.