Today I am going to Norfolk to meet firefighters - and find out from them how the EU rules on working time could put lives at risk especially in rural areas. I wrote about the impact on doctors a few weeks ago.
I've already spoken to firefighters in Cambridgeshire who have told me about the deep uncertainty in their profession caused by the debates raging in Brussels.
If the European Parliament does succeed in forcing the UK to comply with the 48 hour week and, as is being suggested, they include "on call" hours in the time limit then we will have a serious shortage of firefighters. The retained firefighters who do other jobs during the day but fill the rota in the evenings and weekends will be forced to give up one or the other. Either we will have a worse fire service or the tax payer will have to pay more... and which of us can afford that?
Labour MEPs voted for this suggestion. Conservatives did not. More later ....