riots

Jim Pickard

The week did not start well for Boris Johnson, filmed wandering around Clapham beset by angry heckling middle class voters. Was it the moment that BoJo lost his shine, as Kiran suggested a few days ago?

Friends of the London mayor admit that he was caught on the hop, holidaying with his family on the west coast of the USA, some 300 miles from the nearest airport. On returning to Britain, his Clapham walkabout was not his greatest moment. Read more

Jo Johnson

Riots in Bromley? It’s hard to imagine. Yet, last night, a few young people threatened to bring havoc to a borough that traditionally has one of the lowest crime rates in the capital. You can see here an extraordinary video of the looting of the Nugent shopping centre.  Fortunately, the incidents yesterday were limited in scope and isolated. But there is no room for complacency.

I spent part of the afternoon with the Orpington local Safer Neighbourhood Team, which is bracing itself for a repeat performance tonight. Now that the mob has done the capital’s bigger high streets and now that the police are out in force in the city centre, the fear is that secondary targets, such as Bromley, Beckenham and Orpington, will become the next front line.  Read more

Jim Pickard

UPDATE: 11.07am

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 Read more

Jim Pickard

It seems as if the tension may be getting to some Liberal Democrats. I just called Lady Sharp, who is – it transpires – the party’s higher education spokeswoman in the House of Lords. Sharp is quoted in this morning’s Guardian prevaricating over tonight’s tuition fees vote. (“She pointed out that, even on official calculations, £2.7bn of the £10bn due to be lent annually to students will not be repaid.”)

With only a few hours to go before the peers’ voting, the peer still claims to be undecided: “I’m going to make up my mind during the debate,” she told me before hanging up the phone.