A Euro-MP has pledged to carry on the fight to safeguard fire cover in the North-east from the threat of the decision to end the opt-out from the Working Time Directive.

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton joined Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board members Cllr Brian Topping and Cllr Stephen Smith along with Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford on a visit to the retained duty fire station at Fraserburgh today where they met with Area Manager Fraser Burr, Station sub-officer John Anderson and his deputy Ken Macleod to discuss concerns.

The timing of the visit was highly appropriate because just as Mr Hudghton was arriving, so were retained firefighters from across the town and both of the fire tenders based at the station went out on a blue-light call.

Speaking in Fraserburgh, Ian Hudghton MEP said:

"This was a very useful meeting and I was able to hear at first hand from the people at the sharp end straight after they had been out on a call.

"It is clear that the present system which works extremely well will be rendered inoperable if the decision to end the working time opt-out is left as it is. Thankfully, I think we are a long way from that and the UK Government is showing signs of being stirred into action by the huge concern within the fire service.

"I am grateful to the firefighters we met for giving up their time to speak to me today. Their input and information will prove very useful in the continuing campaign to support retained fire cover."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford commented:

"I've been left in no doubt by what I heard today that we must do all we can to save the retained duty system from the threat it currently faces.

"We are very fortunate to have such dedicated firefighters like the ones I met today who also serve their community in this way in addition to their own fulltime jobs. It simply doesn't bear thinking about the consequences were we to lose the retained firefighters and I will be lending my full support to this campaign."

Fraserburgh councillor and member of Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board Brian Topping added:

"I'm delighted that Ian has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit the Broch today. There is very real concern in the fire service about this issue but I am sure that with enough support we can overturn this very damaging decision."

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