§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of(a) the capacity of Shropshire's Fire Service to maintain fire cover during the Fire Brigades Union strike on 20 March and (b) the number of military personnel able to provide fire cover. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The proposed Fire Brigade Union (FBU) strike on 20 March did not go ahead. However, the emergency fire cover provided by the armed forces under Operation Fresco was once again made available to deal with the situation. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry of Defence liase regularly at both ministerial level and official level, we are also in regular touch with other parties, such as Fire Authorities, to ensure that an appropriate level and range of emergency fire cover is available to minimise the risk to public safety caused by FBU strike action.