JOHN Hemming is threatening legal action over “ludicrous” plans to axe five city fire stations.

The Liberal Democrat MP fears his Yardley constituency would be the worst hit if proposals to close two stations in Sheldon and Hay Mills go ahead.

Mr Hemming said he will seek a judicial review against West Midlands Fire Service if it pushes ahead with a five-year closure programme. Under the plans, 10 stations across the West Midlands are due to close because they are either outdated or in the wrong place. West Midlands Fire Service said it would open a smaller number of new stations, but have yet to identify sites.

Mr Hemming said maps drawn up by the service show that it would take 999 crews nine minutes to reach thousands of properties currently within reach in seven minutes.

“It’s a ludicrous plan which might reduce response times in one area but increases them across large parts of east Birmingham and Solihull,” he said.

“If I am forced to order a judicial review then it will force the fire service to answer some questions in court which haven’t been addressed by their current rationale.”

Mr Hemming played down fears that the row could cause a political rift among the city council’s ruling Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Conservative members on the West Midlands Fire Authority backed the plan while Lib Dems opposed it or abstained, he said.

But the MP said he did not believe it would affect council business and was “not a party political issue”.

Billesley, Aston and Ward End stations would also close while new stations could be built in Stechford, Hall Green, Shard End and Chelmsley Wood.

Mr Hemming has also questioned the cost of the scheme.