I am glad Parliament will meet again tomorrow, if only for a day. When I called for it to meet yesterday, I also sought assurances that we could discuss the economic situation as well as the wave of criminality. I am glad we will have a statement both on law and order and on the economy.
I am hoping the Prime Minister and Home Secretary will be able to report that with much larger numbers the police now can control the streets. I hope they will also tell us if changes to the law are needed to act more decisively to prevent breaking and entering and damage to property when police see it about to happen. Can with the extra police the force now arrest more at the scene of the crime, often with the proof of their crimes in their hands? Can threatening gangs be broken up or detained before they do damage to people and property? What is the appropriate level of force to use against violent looters? How can you distinguish readily between violent gangs of looters, and people just out on the streets for peaceful purposes? What is the appropriate sentence for those who destroy homes and businesses, and help themselves to other people’s goods? What did the PM mean when he said if you are old enough to commit a crime you are old enough to take the consequences? Is he thinking of changing the age of criminal responsibility?
The Chancellor needs to tell us about the Euro crisis and the fear that has gripped markets about slowing growth or worse. He now has an opportunity to flesh out his recent press article about bringing in more measures to stimulate growth. He can tell us what the UK wants in return for allowing the Euro member states to press on with greater union, as he proposes. He can say what the Euroland members are wanting to do to control wayward deficits and to inject confidence in what they are doing.