All young offenders need is tough love, says Cameron

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Indy Politics

What young offenders need is love, actually, David Cameron said yesterday. Stung by the ridicule which greeted his "hug a hoodie" speech earlier in the year, the Conservative Party leader has returned to the attack with a speech on the importance of understanding what makes young offenders offend.

"We have to show a lot more love," he said. "By that I don't mean sentimental, childish love which sees no wrong in anyone. I mean tough love - love that values people, and therefore demands high standards from them."

His comments, in a speech to the Youth Justice Board in Cardiff, produced a scathing response from the Home Office minister, Tony McNulty, who accused Mr Cameron of using "fluffy-bunny language" without political substance. "Asking us to hug a hoodie wasn't enough for David Cameron; today he went a step further and asked us to love a lout," Mr McNulty said.

In his speech in July, Mr Cameron did not call on anyone to hug a hoodie, but did say they were often "more defensive than offensive".

In yesterday's speech, reportedly written by his fellow old Etonian, Danny Kruger, a former Daily Telegraph leader writer, the Tory leader said Labour was trivialising an important issue. "I talked about hoodies - and Tony Blair made a joke about it in his party conference speech. With that cheap joke he gave up on one of the best things he ever said, 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime'," he said. "What I said was that we mustn't demonise young people."