"Outraged" firefighters in London vowed to fight on today after Mayor Boris Johnson denounced his own handpicked advisers for warning that he shouldn't slash 999 services.
The brash Tory's plans would cut £45 million from the fire services' budget by 2015 - including wiping out nearly a tenth of the city's fire stations, 18 engines and roughly one in 10 firefighters' jobs.
Meanwhile his colleagues in the coalition have cut central government grants for fire services by 27 per cent.
The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority's members - all personally appointed by the mayor - rejected the plans last week, saying they would threaten public safety.
But the mayor said late today afternoon he would press on, dismissing the warning as "outrageous."
"It's right that tough decisions have to be made in times of economic uncertainty," he said.
"With 100 fire stations and over 150 fire engines, I am completely resolute that any agreed proposals will still be able to deal with large scale or multiple emergencies."
The mayor said he would now stage a public consultation.
The Fire Brigades Union's regional secretary Paul Embery said it was "absurd" to think cuts "would somehow improve public safety."
"The mayor is single-handedly jeopardising the safety of millions of Londoners on the altar of crude economic considerations," he said, adding that the cuts would save the average household just seven pence a week.
"We now need the widest possible campaign, with local communities working together with the FBU to stop these dangerous cuts. That fight begins today," he said.