PRIME MINISTER – FIREMEN & THE ARMY – 25 November 2002
Julian Lewis: Given that the Army was warned at the end of July that it would need to prepare for such a strike; given that a considerable number of red fire engines are held in reserve and not behind picket lines; and given that Conservative Members estimate that it would take two weeks to train people to use those fire engines, whereas Labour Members estimate that it would take 12 weeks, why has not the Army been undergoing training since the end of July to use those available fire engines without having to cross picket lines?
[The Prime Minister: Preparations to provide cover began in August. The military will be provided with whatever they need but, if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, we prefer to take their advice rather than his.]