David Cameron has issued a statement on the steps of Downing Street, attacking the “thugs” responsible for the riots and announcing that 16,000 officers will be on the streets tonight. (Up from 6,000 last night)
He has also confirmed that Parliament will be recalled for one day on Thursday. He has described the riots as “sickening”, talked of his “huge sympathy” for the victims” and praised the “incredible bravery of the police”.
Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday for MPs to discuss the situation in Britain’s inner cities. The news was first tweeted by George Pascoe-Watson, former political editor of the Sun. I’ve just had confirmation from another source. I’m told the government will make the announcement later today. How many MPs will be annoyed that they will have to break off from the beach?
(Some have already welcomed the idea, including Paul Flynn, the Welsh Labour left-winger, who called it “the correct choice”. Others disagree, including Labour’s Jamie Reed, who asks what difference it would make.)
This is the second one-off recall of Parliament this summer – the other being over phone-hacking on July 20.
Since the weekend the story has rapidly become political. Theresa May was quizzed hard on this morning’s Today programme about what the police could do to tackle the riots. Would the home secretary authorise the use of curfews or water cannons? The answer was very non-committal, although there was a hint that the latter was rather unEnglish:
No, the way we police in the UK the way we police is by consent. We want police able to work with their communities to make sure they can deal with the disorder that is taking place, which, as I say, is totally unacceptable. This is about criminality and it’s about the police being able to protect the public, to protect property but also follow that through, and that’s what they’ll be doing, they’ve already made over 450 arrests in London, a significant number of arrests in Birmingham, they’ll be working through CCTV footage, they’ll be taking witness statements today, there’ll be further arrests. And what we’ll also see is people in court, the courts sitting today, the virtual court today, in court and being brought to justice for what they have done.
Just a few minutes ago the BBC reported that a friendly game between England and Holland at Wembley tomorrow has been cancelled to free up police resources.