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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Tories 'tough but tender' on crime
Oliver Letwin
Mr Letwin has come under fire for being too liberal
The Conservative Party must be both 'tough and tender' when tackling crime and its causes, Oliver Letwin has said.

The shadow home secretary said children were falling prey to drugs gangs partly through a lack of support, discipline and affection in the home.


We want to be tough but tough with being tender

Oliver Letwin
But he said tackling those kind of social issues had to be balanced with reforms to the youth justice system and measures to ensure more police were on the streets.

Mr Letwin denied that his approach to law and order put him at odds with the right of the Tory party.

Former Conservative chairman Lord Tebbit has in the past compared Mr Letwin's approach to that of a "Hampstead liberal".

Tories were "very much like the rest of the population - decent, tolerant, humane but desperately concerned to see the criminals brought under control, to see decent citizens back in charge of our neighbourhoods," Mr Letwin told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost programme.

"I think Conservatives want to see police on our streets.

"They want to see reform of our youth justice system so that we don't have people just recycling through our young offenders institutions and back out the other side to commit crimes.

"These are common goals of Conservatives - there's not debate in the Conservative Party about that kind of thing."

Lack of affection?

He added: "We share a common agenda of working to get the decent citizen back in charge of our society but we also recognise that means attending to things like family life and bringing up children properly.

"We want to be tough but tough with being tender."

Mr Letwin expressed concern about drug abuse among the young and he highlighted the softer approach to cannabis being taken in Lambeth, south London, as an example of letting the gangs take over.

He attributed drug abuse amongst young people in part to a lack of discipline and of affection in the home.

The tough but tender approach is reminiscent of the stance adopted by Tony Blair when he was shadow home secretary in the early 1990s.

Mr Blair famously said that Labour should be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

See also:

25 May 02 | UK Politics
04 Jan 02 | UK Politics
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19 Jun 02 | UK Politics
08 Jan 02 | UK Politics

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