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Stories involving David Ward

Row over riot sentences

David Cameron has hit back at accusations by Lib Dem MPs that sentences for rioters had been too harsh. Simon Hughes called on courts to be "sympathetic" to first time offenders, while David Ward described plans to withdraw offenders' benefits as "nuts", and Tessa Munt said the plans were "bonkers, bonkers, bonkers". Lib Dem Lord Carlile has said that ministers appeared to "steer" the courts over the toughness of the sentences.

But the Prime Minister said: "You weren't in court, I wasn't in court, it's up to the courts to make decisions about sentencing. They've decided to send a tough message and it's very good the courts feel able to do that." Communities Secretary Eric Pickles earlier said "exemplary sentences are necessary".

Fellow Tory MP Gavin Barwell, whose Croydon constituency was one of the worse hit, told 5live this morning: “I think the vast majority of the people who I represent in Parliament will be pleased to see these sentences... It’s really important, the confidence in our criminal justice system."

Sir Menzies Campbell said that politicians should "keep out" of discussions on what sentences should be given to rioters. “My view is that politicians should neither be cheering nor booing when it comes to the matter of sentencing. I take that position because Politicians make the laws, police enforce the law and it is for judges to implement the law".

Two men were jailed for four years each yesterday for inciting riots on Facebook, in what Judge Andrew Gilbart called a "clear and unambiguous message" to rioters and looters.


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