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'LABOUR NEGLECT IN HANDLING THE FIRE STRIKE'

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Shadow secretary of state for the ODPM, David Davis, speaking in the house of commons yesterday on the issue of the...
Shadow secretary of state for the ODPM, David Davis, speaking in the house of commons yesterday on the issue of the firefighters' strike said:

'I hope the deputy prime minister will also agree with me that after more than 20 years of modernisation of the British economy and British industrial relations, now is not the time to plunge back into the dark days of the 1970s, when trade union bosses held the country to ransom and the picket line called the shots.

'Britain is living in the 21st century, yet we stand today on the verge of the first national firefighters' strike since 1977. The threatened Fire Brigades Union strike is a matter of serious national importance which puts lives at risk. Against the background of a significant terrorist threat, the start of the strikes coincides with one of the busiest times of the year for fire and ambulance services - bonfire night and Diwali. The extreme gravity of the situation transcends normal political debate. Nevertheless, the very seriousness of this situation demands that we get the answers to a number of specific questions on the record.

'All summer this problem has been brewing and all summer the government has sat on their hands. A few frantic days of activity does not make up for a summer of neglect.'

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