UK riots

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.