Standing outside No. 10, David Cameron has just delivered a short and to the point statement on last night’s riots. As expected, he announced that Parliament would be recalled for a day on Thursday so that “we are all able to stand together in condemnation of these crimes”.
After the police, by their own admission, were “stretched beyond belief”, the PM also announced that compared with the 6,000 police on the streets last night in London, “there will be some 16,000 officers tonight”. He added that all leave within the Met had been cancelled and that assistance would be provided by other forces around the country. Cameron pledged to do “everything necessary to restore order” but, in line with Theresa May, said nothing to suggest that we’re about to see water cannon and rubber bulletts deployed. Tory MEP Roger Helmer, who has called for the army to “shoot looters and arsonists on sight” will be left to bemoan his leader’s feebleness.
Cameron wisely chose not to speculate about “the causes” of last night’s destruction, instead offering a simple, unambiguous condemnation. “This is criminality, pure and simple,” he said. “And it has to be confronted and defeated.” The first test of his resolve will come tonight.