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Public disorder in Leicester

I am appalled and saddened by the violence that has taken place in Leicester and other cities in recent days, as are the overwhelming majority of people in this country.

There is no excuse for this violence, or for the destruction, theft and looting. Those who have committed criminal acts must face full and appropriate punishment from the Courts.

I want to thank and pay tribute to the hard work of the police in Leicester over the past few days. I know from speaking to Leicestershire’s Chief Constable that many officers and PCSOs have had their leave cancelled and are working extremely long shifts, with few breaks, in order to keep our city safe. We are indebted to them for their efforts.

I also want to thank our Mayor and Council for working to ensure our city centre is cleaned up and back to normal as quickly as possible. Most of all, I am grateful to the businesses, community organisations, voluntary and faith groups who have spoken up for our fantastic city. They are right when they say that the behaviour of a small minority of young people will not have a lasting impact on Leicester or prevent us from making it an even better place to live and work in future.

I spent today in Parliament – which was recalled from its summer break – listening to the Prime Minister’s statement and the emergency debate about the public disorder and violence.

I am glad that the Home Affairs Select Committee will look at the police response across the country to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

However, I was very disappointed that the Prime Minister did not set up a wider inquiry to look at what has happened in the past few days.

We cannot afford to let these events pass without taking a long hard look at the underlying reasons and causes. These causes are complex – and there will be no simple solutions – but it is vital that we try to understand what has happened in order to prevent such events happening again. Most importantly we need to ensure the views of the communities that have been affected by the violence and disorder are properly heard.

The Prime Minister should have announced an inquiry. I and my fellow Labour MPs will continue to press him to do so. Our communities and country deserve nothing less.