Greater Manchester MPs condem riots and looting

By Liam Barnes

MPs across Greater Manchester have slammed the rioters looting and setting fire to shops and cars in Manchester city centre and Salford.

Miss Selfridge on Market Street was firebombed and a Bargain Booze near Salford Precinct was ransacked by hundreds of hooded rioters, while reports have said people have also been attacked.

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, said: “I’m shocked what is happening in my city and there are serious questions to be answered.

“It’s been known all day there would be serious trouble in Salford precinct and Manchester city centre so why are shops being attacked and set on fire? Police will have to answer why these incidents were not prevented.

“This wasn’t like Tottenham, which was completely unexpected. It’s a real cause for concern and questions.”

Hazel Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles, was concerned over why so many children were in the gangs and had spoken to Greater Manchester Police.

She said: “In the past we have had anti-social behaviour out of control, but we got a grip of that and this behaviour is just mindless and pointless.

“The vast majority of people are great citizens in Salford and Eccles.”

Central Manchester MP Tony Lloyd quickly denounced the riots, but warned that such instances of anti-social behaviour would put a strain on police forces already facing huge cuts.

“This activity is not what the people of Manchester want,” he said. “It is bizarre if we’re still saying to our police officers at the end of this we’ll be handing you your P45s.”

Graham Stringer also criticised the police response. He said: “A lot more people should have been arrested for threatening and abusive behaviour earlier in the day and the police were aware of this.

“I will be putting my concerns to the police. They’ve got enough on their hands now but these are questions that will be asked tomorrow or Thursday.

“The police will have to explain what has happened. We need to analyse what has happened and whether the right action has been taken by the police today.”

He added: “While I’m not prepared to say the police have got it wrong until I know all the facts, certainly the police have a lot of questions to answer about why there is a shop on fire, why there’s been a lot of damage to property, why businesses have been closed down and people are having their employment threatened in this way.”

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