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Firefighters from across the country will descend on Westminster today to protest against what they say is a false guarantee given to MP's as part of a parliamentary debate into firefighter pensions. The protest coincides with 24 hours of strike action firefighters in England will be taking from 7am this morning. Contingency plans have been put in place to deal with emergencies.
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Sir Malcolm Rifkind has said the recent controversy over cash for payments was not relevant to him role as Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee chairman, however he has still decided to resign from the role.
He will remain on the committee.
None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
However, I have today informed my colleagues that while I will remain a member of the Committee, I will step down from the Chairmanship.
The Committee is due to be dissolved in little over a month with the prorogation of Parliament for the forthcoming General Election. The main substantive work which needs to be completed will be the publication of our Privacy and Security Report during March.
I do not want the work of the Committee and the publication of the Report to be, in any way, distracted or affected by controversy as to my personal position. I have concluded, therefore, that it is better that this important work should be presided over by a new Chairman.
Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind is to step down as an MP at the General Election and has also resigned as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, he said.
The Government has been accused of refusing to negotiate with firefighters ahead of a fresh strike over pensions.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will walk out for 24 hours from 7am tomorrow, forcing brigades across the country to put contingency plans in place.
The union says improvements have been made in Wales, Scotland and Ireland but not England.