The “mob” that attacked a car carrying the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall must be arrested and punished, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister admitted he was “very concerned” about the lapse in royal security, but insisted the blame had to be pinned on protesters determined to use violence.
“We want to learn the lessons from that but, above all, we want to make sure that the people who behaved in these appalling ways feel the full force of the law of the land,” he said. “It is not acceptable, it is against the law to smash property, to behave in that way, to attack police officers, and I want to make sure that they feel the full force of the law.”
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said the violence that blighted Thursday’s tuition fees demonstrations in central London was not down to a small minority.
“It’s no good to say this was a very small minority. It wasn’t,” he said. “There were quite a number of people who clearly were there wanting to pursue violence and destroy property.
“I know that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner is going to be working hard to report on this. I also know quite rightly he will look into the very regrettable incident where the Prince of Wales and his wife were nearly attacked by this mob.”
Asked about the lapse in security around Charles and Camilla, the Prime Minister said: “Of course I’m very concerned about it. I immediately rang the Prince of Wales’ private secretary and discussed it with him and I spoke to Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.”
But he added that it was “not the fault of the police – it was the fault of the people who tried to smash up that car.”
The Prime Minister added: “Let’s be very clear about where responsibility lies – responsibility for smashing property, or violence, lies with the people who perpetrate that violence and I want to see them arrested and punished in the correct way.
“But of course we must learn the lessons from what was a very regrettable lapse of security and that needs to be dealt with, and the lessons need to be learned.”