Lib Dem Hypocrisy Over Retained Fire-fighters

23 January 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today reacted angrily to Lib Dem comments regarding the European Parliament's recent vote on the Working Time Directive. Mr Smith has labelled recent comments by Alastair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, as rank hypocrisy and political opportunism at its worst, considering that Scotland's only Liberal Democrat MEP, Elspeth Attwoll, voted to end the UK's opt-out from the Working Time Directive after three years.

Mr Smith said:

"For Alastair Carmichael to start referring to "unintended consequences" now is bordering on the ridiculous. It was quite apparent, well before the vote, that this would be the consequence. Had he felt so strongly about the difficulties that Scotland's retained fire-fighters would be facing if the UK lost its opt-out then perhaps he should have worked a little harder in trying to persuade his own Lib Dem colleague in the European Parliament to vote against the amendment that ended our opt-out.

"This is nothing short of rank hypocrisy and political opportunism at its worst, but the Lib Dems have been caught short on this one. Their opportunism is not matched by their knowledge of this issue. It is rare that I am moved to anger by the machinations of another party but on this one the Lib Dems have gone too far. At best this is incompetence, at worst it is downright dishonesty.

"My uncle is a retained firefighter in Aviemore so I appreciate the importance of this issue. Now the vote has passed there can be no denying that we are facing difficulties but we also have three years to find a way and I remain confident that the Scottish Government will do so."