IDS: "You can't just arrest your way out of this"

The Welfare Secretary distances himself from Downing Street's "zero tolerance" message.

Iain Duncan Smith, the welfare secretary, has intervened in the row over the riots. In a sharp divergence from the "zero tolerance" message forwarded by Number 10, he said support for young people who want to leave gangs was just as important as tough sanctions for those who chose a life of crime.

Let's compare and contrast. Here's what David Cameron said on sentencing after the riots, in his speech in Witney on Monday:

Last week we saw the criminal justice system deal with an unprecedented challenge: the courts sat through the night and dispensed swift, firm justice. We saw that the system was on the side of the law-abiding majority.

And here is what Duncan Smith says in the Guardian today:

As senior police officers on both sides of the Atlantic have said, you can't just arrest your way out of this problem.

Duncan Smith's comments follow increasing disquiet from Liberal Democrats about the Tory reaction to the riots, which includes the suggestion that rioters be evicted from council houses or deprived of benefits. The question of proportionality of sentencing has not only caused friction within the coalition, but has also attracted criticism from legal professionals.

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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