News / Europe

British PM Pledges to Reverse 'Moral Collapse' After Riots

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street in London, to attend Parliament, August 11, 2011
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Downing Street in London, to attend Parliament, August 11, 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain must reverse what he calls a "moral collapse" that he blames for last week's deadly riots.

Cameron said Monday social problems festering for decades have exploded. He pledged that his coalition government would set out new policies to address them.

The rioting killed five people and saw thousands arrested and facing criminal charges.

The violence followed the fatal police shooting of a man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood and spread to other cities across Britain. It also raised questions about security as London prepares to host the 2012 Olympic Games.   

Cameron promised to do more to target gangs. But he said this would be matched by greater efforts to promote family values, boost discipline in schools and encourage hard work.

The prime minister, who has been criticized for plans to cut back on police spending, acknowledged the moral decline is not limited to the poorest parts of society.  

Opposition Labor Party leader Ed Miliband blamed the riots on what he called "a values crisis" across society - linking them to the financial crisis, scandals over lawmakers' expenses and the phone-hacking at the News of the World tabloid. He also accused Cameron of promoting what he called "knee-jerk gimmicks" to address the problems.

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