Daily Archives: August 11, 2011

Jim Pickard

The winning petition may have a typo in it:

Convicted London rioters should loose [sic] all benefits.*’

But it has passed 100,000 signatures, the government has just announced. This does not mean in itself that it will win precious Parliamentary time – that will still be decided by the backbench committee, chaired by Labour MP Natascha Engel. Obviously it has more chance than some others, however, not least as David Cameron has made approving noises (and Iain Duncan Smith is said to be keen).

Here is our news story about the petition, with details of other petitions which have rather lagged behind.

It’s worth pointing out that those sent to jail already lose benefits; this would only apply to those who are convicted but not imprisoned. Read more

Jim Pickard

Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, said yesterday that it was too early to say whether the riots would have any tangible negative effect on the economy. (The question came as he downgraded the Bank’s economic forecast for the year.) Nor will the Treasury aide I spoke to this morning be drawn on the issue.

That doesn’t mean it is not to early to raise the suggestion, however. Read more

Kiran Stacey

Ed MilibandToday is a difficult day for Ed Miliband and the Labour party. Which way do they tack on the issue of riots?

Ed’s instincts are to examine the social causes for the disorder, and tackle its root causes. But he knows the public might see that as excusing criminal behaviour, so he has to tread a fine line, especially if he wants to distance himself in part from the government.

His speech started in a moderate tone, welcoming the prime minister’s speech and thanking the Speaker for recalling parliament. This is a tactic he has used effectively in recent months, starting consensually before working himself to a rousing and more combative finish. Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron is making his statement now. His main promises:

* Police: Increased police presence will remain until the weekend.

* Army: The army will not be used to tackle rioters. But soldiers could be brought in to help the police with everyday jobs, freeing up police for “frontline” duties

* Face masks: At present people can only be asked to remove masks in certain areas and for a limited time. That will change so police can ask people to remove masks “where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity“. It is likely that the government will amend existing legislation.

* Communication networks: They could be closed down (presumably on a localised basis) where there are suspicions that they are being used to faciliate criminal activity. The government admits that this is still tentative; there will be talks between police and Read more