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11 August 2011

Cameron’s statement on the riots – live blog

Minute-by-minute coverage of the Prime Minister's statement to the Commons.

By George Eaton

Stay tuned for live coverage from 11:30am.

11:33 As you’d expect, the Commons is packed. Cameron should begin his statement shortly.

11:34 Cameron is speaking. It is right that we show a “united front,” he says. He pays tribute to Tottenham MP David Lammy for his “powerful words and actions” over the past days.

11:35 Mark Duggan’s death was used as an excuse by “opportunistic thugs and gangs”, Cameron says. There was no causal link.

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11:37 The police made the mistake of treating the issue as one of “public order”, rather than crime, Cameron says.

11:38 More than 1,200 people have been arrested, Cameron announces. He repeats his line about “phoney human rights concerns” not getting in the way of publishing CCTV pictures.

11:39 Cameron says it was right not to use the army but promises to look at how they could assist the police in the future.

11:41 Police will have the discretion to “remove face coverings” when they are related to criminal behaviour, Cameron announces.

11:43 The insurance industry is expected to pay out £200m. The government has set up a “high street support scheme” to help businesses recover, and tax payments will be deferred for those in greatest need.

11:44 Ministers will meet the “emergency costs” of those made homeless.

11:45 Cameron moves on to the “deeper causes” of the riots. “This is not about poverty it’s about culture,” he argues. A first mention for “the broken society”.

11:47 The heart of the problem is teenage gangs, Cameron says.

11:48 To the “violent minority”, Cameron says: “We will track you down, we will find you, we will punish you.”

11:49 Cameron closes by saying that we need to show the world, which has looked on “appalled”, the Britain “that doesn’t destroy but builds”.

11.50: Ed Miliband has taken over to respond to Cameron’s statement. Britain wants to return to normality, he says.

11.51: Miliband says he agrees with Cameron on the army — this is a job for the police. But Miliband asks for clarification for what the army will do to support the police, and how the extra strain on the police will be funded, given that budgets are already stretched.

11.53: Miliband asks: will Cameron now think again about cuts to the police force?

11.54: Can Cameron assure that there won’t be an arbitrary cap on the amount needed to rebuild the communities affected?

11.55 “To seek to explain is not to seek to excuse. Why are there people who feel they have everything to gain and nothing to lose from wanton vandalism?” Miliband says that the causes are complex. We can only find solutions through hearing from our communities, or trouble will begin again. How will the government make sure communities are engaged?

11.57 Miliband says we must not forget our own responsbility — not to the minority of young people who committed the violence, but the law-abiding majority. We must ensure there are opportunities for them and they have the right to expect this.

11.58Cameron is now responding to Miliband. He starts by thanking him and agrees about the need for normality.

11.59: On the police, says Cameron, government’s have a responsibility to look ahead to potential problems and contingencies. In the future, they could look at what the army could take over to free up frontline police, in emergencies.

12.01: On police budgets, Cameron says the government is looking for cash reductions that are totally achievable without visible reductions in police numbers.

12.02: The Riot Damages Act does not have a cap on the amount of money available to communities, says Cameron.

12.03 People are responsible for their actions, says Cameron. He reiterates that he hopes this cross-party collaboration can continue.

12:06 David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham is speaking. 45 people have lost their homes in Tottenham, he says. The cry is: “Where were the police?”

12:10 Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary, says Cameron must accept that the cuts will lead to fewer police on the streets. He adds that Cameron must reverse Ken Clarke’s prison closures. “We need more prisons,” he says.

12:13 David Davis asks what the government will do to prevent “evil-minded people” using the events to increase ethnic conflict. Cameron says the government will work closely with community leaders.

12:19 Nadine Dorries asks Cameron why the police did not have imeediate access to plastic bullets and water cannon. Cameron says that the police came close to using baton rounds but adds that the size and mobility of the crowd meant water cannon were rightly not used.

12:22 We’re going to end the live blog here. But stay tuned for live coverage of George Osborne’s statement on the economy.