Business of the House
Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland, Liberal Democrat)
May we have a debate on the impact of the ending of the UK opt-out from the working time directive for retained firefighters? Some 321 of the 391 fire stations in Scotland are staffed by part-time firefighters. A strict application of the directive would mean that they would often be left unable to provide the necessary cover, and the stark fact is that many of our more remote communities simply do not have the critical mass of population required to maintain a full-time service. Surely it is wrong that the law of unintended consequences should be allowed to leave some communities without effective fire cover in this way.