MP says riot response has been too slow

PLEA Caroline Dinenage
PLEA Caroline Dinenage

Hampshire police taking part in operation to crackdown on speeding

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Gosport’s Tory MP today said that the Prime Minister should have returned from holiday earlier as riots swept London.

Caroline Dinenage was was critical of what she sees as a ‘slow’ response to the trouble.

She said: ‘I think it’s right David Cameron has come back. But I think it should have been earlier. This is a very serious situation.’

The Prime Minister flew home from a holiday in Italy on Monday night, and was today holding a COBRA meeting to discuss what action should be taken next.

Mrs Dinenage said she believed the army could be called out to deal with riots across England.

The Tory MP is in London, and has spoken of her fear as armoured vehicles last night sped to locations across the capital, and called for ‘unprecedented action’ to be taken to stop the civil unrest.

She said: ‘I was walking back to where I’m saying and it was terrifying to see what’s been happening. The vehicles carrying police were speeding to where the worst of the problems are. It’s really scary, like something out of a disaster movie.’

Police in London have reported every single cell in the city is now full, and that 5,500 officers have been mobilised to attempt to regain control of areas including Tottenham, Hackney, Ealing, Clapham and Stoke Newington.

And because rioting has also broken out in Kent, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol, Mrs Dinenage refused to rule out armed forces on the nation’s streets.

She said: ‘I’m not in a position to say whether the army will be called out, but this is an unprecedented situation, and it calls for unprecedented action. We have to get a grip on this because otherwise we will end up like Greece, where people tried to just do whatever they wanted. I’m afraid it’s a sign society is so broken that people are no longer capable of taking responsibility for their own actions. We can’t do nothing, that’s not an option, or else things could spread completely out of control.’

The riots began on Saturday night in Tottenham, north east London, after police shot 29 year-old Mark Duggan when the minicab he was travelling in was halted for a stop and search.

But what began as a peaceful vigil spiralled out of control, and saw shops looted, vehicles set on fire, and pitched street battles between police and members of the public.

And Mrs Dinenage condemned the rioters and looters who have since struck across London and other parts of England.

She said: ‘At the very heart of this, there must have been a justifiable excuse, at least, but now it’s just wanton violence. It’s the hard-working people of this country who will end up paying for this. Not just those who have lost businesses, but tax bills and insurance premiums will rise.’

Mrs Dinenage also confirmed she and other MPs were waiting to hear whether Parliament will be recalled to deal with the crisis.