Clause 1 — Powers of the Secretary of State
Orders of the Day — Fire Services Bill
Mr Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central, Labour)
That question is probably not best addressed to me, given that I have already expressed reservations about the Bill. Perhaps the official Opposition will join me and others in hoping that there will be a proper settlement that is honourable for the FBU and the people who work in our fire services and, of course, for the Government.
My reason for going along with the Government is that I recognise the steps that the Deputy Prime Minister and the Government have taken during recent weeks to try to bring an end to the issue. That view has also been placed on record by Andy Gilchrist, the general secretary of the FBU. In the end, the whole House should see the issue not as some polemical political game—I regret that there were shades of that in the hon. Gentleman's speech—because it is far too serious for us to be playing party politics and seeking political advantage. This is genuinely a moment for the nation to reflect on the role of Government, and to call on the employers and employees in the fire service to operate in that spirit, as the FBU is now doing.