Tuesday News Review

Cameron and Boris return… finally

Prime Minister David Cameron has cut short his holiday in Tuscany to chair a Cobra emergency meeting at 9am this morning in Downing Street following a third consecutive night of violence in London. Mayor Boris Johnson is also on his way back to help take charge of the situation. Home Secretary Theresa May said the authorities “can bring an end to this” through “robust policing” and promised that those responsible would be brought to justice. She added that over 450 people had been arrested after looters and police clashed all over the capital, as well as a “significant number” in Birmingham, where looting also took place. There was also violence in Liverpool and Bristol. There have been numerous complaints about the police’s response, with Clapham Junction in south London singled out as an area where police were particularly slow to react. Reports showed that looters were able to attack the Debenham’s store for over two hours before order was restored. London’s Deputy Mayor for policing, Kit Malthouse, admitted to the BBC that police had been “incredibly stretched” and apologised for the slow response in some areas. – PoliticsHome

David Cameron cut short his holiday last night to fly back to Britain to take charge of the response to the wave of riots in London. Following three days of disturbances, he will today chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee after deciding to abandon his summer break at an Italian villa four days early. He will be joined by senior ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and police chiefs to co-ordinate action against the wave of lawlessness. Downing Street had earlier stressed that he was in constant touch with Whitehall officials, but his surprise decision to come back underlines the gravity with which the crisis is being treated within the Government. The Prime Minister’s move came hours after Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, bowed to criticism and scrapped his holiday in Canada to return. Senior government sources had earlier expressed incredulity that Mr Johnson had chosen to remain on vacation in British Columbia when Ms May returned early from her break in Switzerland. Tellingly, neither Mr Cameron nor Ms May spoke to the Mayor in their rounds of calls to discuss the disturbances. “There was a strong feeling that he should have announced he was coming back sooner,” said a senior source in No 10. – the Independent

Violence spreads to Birmingham

Shop windows were smashed and furniture hurled at officers after a social media campaign was started yesterday afternoon urging people to copy events in London. As an estimated 200 youths, many of them hooded or masked, congregated, West Midlands police put up a half-mile exclusion zone around the Bullring shopping centre, which shut early at 6.40pm. They also blocked entry into Pallisades shopping centre above New Street station. Shoppers fled as what started as a peaceful gathering quickly turned ugly. Onlookers described thugs running with knives through New Street and one photographer was set upon by a group who beat him and stole his camera. – the Telegraph

Shares take dramatic tumble

In the first trading since the decision by the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency to strip the US of its AAA credit rating, shares on Wall Street recorded one of their worst one-day falls ever. Last night the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 635 points – 5.6 per cent – at 10,810 after a day of relentless selling. The index has fallen by more points on only five occasions. In London, the FTSE-100 index ended lower for the seventh day in a row, and has now lost over 800 points, or 13.7 per cent. By contrast gold, a traditional safe haven in troubled times, hit yet another all-time high, at over $1,700 an ounce. London shares are at their lowest since July 2010, just after George Osborne’s emergency Budget… The Bank of England is due to reveal its latest forecasts for inflation and growth tomorrow. It is expected to follow the Office for Budget Responsibility in admitting that its projections have not been borne out by reality. – the Independent

Clegg told to distance himself from Tories

Nick Clegg will face calls from senior Liberal Democrats to get “back to basics” and distance himself far more from David Cameron and the Conservatives over the coming month. Tim Farron, the party’s president, is expected to use the annual conference in September to warn the leadership that it needs to help members “hold [their] heads up high” and bring in policies to entice back the voters who have deserted the party. Liberal Democrats yesterday began to outline the policies they will put forward at the next election to put “clear orange water” between the Coalition parties. These include a comprehensive review of taxation policy – with proposals for a new “land tax” on the rich as well as major initiatives on criminal justice, immigration and political reform. – the Independent

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