Labour seizes on crime comments by the Queen

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The Independent Online
THE QUEEN became embroiled in political controversy last night after warning that law and order could not be dealt with unless the roots of crime were tackled.

Labour MPs were delighted by her speech, delivered during an official visit to Belize. Stuart Bell, a spokesman on the City said: 'The Queen has had to go to Belize to criticise the Home Secretary. No one would accuse the Queen of being a closet socialist, but her common sense on crime echoes the views of Tony Blair (Labour's home affairs spokesman).'

John Major is expected to face questions about the Queen's remarks today in the Commons. He has made tougher law and order measures a centre-piece of his 'back to basics' campaign.

An increase in law enforcement was not enough on its own to cope with increasing crime, the Queen told the Belize Parliament. 'It is never enough to treat symptoms alone.

'Such measures as the strengthening of law and enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems are worthwhile but we must simultaneously look at the real roots of the disease.'

The Queen said: 'It is always dangerous. . . to be complacent and to assume that democratic values will look after themselves. Vigilance in protecting them is needed.

'We must, for instance, train and educate young people to comprehend their proper rights and responsibilities.'

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: 'To interpret it as an attack on the British Government is quite wrong.'