David Cameron rejects claim politicians' behaviour was to blame for riots

 

David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed yesterday over whether the behaviour of politicians and bankers may have played a part in provoking this month's riots.

Downing Street played down the findings of an academic research project suggesting that lack of trust in politicians was a bigger factor in people's willingness to riot than other explanations such as lax moral values or poverty and the Government's spending cuts.

But Mr Miliband and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, made clear that they were open-minded about whether alienation from the political class may have played a role.

Mr Cameron, who regards the riots as a symbol of Britain's "broken society", yesterday began chairing a cabinet review of the Government's social policies to see what changes were needed as a result of the riots. It will include state benefits, schools, parenting, family policy and whether health and safety and human rights laws prevent "common sense solutions" to social problems. Commenting on the research by Essex University and Royal Holloway, University of London, Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman said: "One can speculate but we are not necessarily going to know exactly what the causes were. We have to have a very strong response in the wake of the public disorder." The broader impact would be considered during the review.

The Liberal Democrats said the perception that politicians, bankers and others at the top were "getting away with it" may have been a factor in the refusal of rioters to ignore the "rules of the game" too. Mr Clegg is believed to be sympathetic to the academics' warning that depriving rioters of their state benefits could backfire, alienating them further.

Labour sources said the academics' findings, revealed in The Independent yesterday, should be considered by the panel being set up by the Government to look into the reasons behind the riots. Yesterday the Labour leader rejected Mr Cameron's claim that the riots were caused by a breakdown in values. "There are issues of values but you've also got to address the issue of the values at the top of society, because the top of society sets an example for the rest and it hasn't been setting a good example in the last few years," Mr Miliband said during a visit to Lewisham.

Mr Miliband promised to force a Commons vote on the cuts in police numbers. Nick Herbert, the Policing Minister, accused Labour of "hypocrisy", saying the previous government proposed to cut £1bn a year from the police budget.

Met pressuring media to hand over riots footage

Newspapers and broadcasters face growing pressure from the Metropolitan Police to hand over all footage and pictures relating to the London riots.

Scotland Yard has threatened organisations with a court order forcing them to pass on material that may show "crime in action" if they refuse to comply. Media groups have rejected the demands, maintaining that the press is an impartial recorder of events rather than an evidence-gathering mechanism for the police. The police would have to convince a High Court judge that the police request outweighs the public interest of having a free press.

Other forces, including Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, began approaching local and national media a fortnight ago. The demands come after David Cameron urged the media to act "responsibly" and hand over material which would help track down rioters and looters.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
News
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Planner

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Recruitment Genius: Existing Customer Telephone Consultants

£13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...

Recruitment Genius: Contract Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor