Committees used to be boring things.Â They involved MPs looking closely at the rules about applying for planning permission in conservation areas or deciding whether to abolish the Cones Hotline (John Major’s one significant legacy to the nation, lest we forget).
Nowadays, though, parliamentary committees are the new Big Brother.Â In the last year or so, news channels have gleefully taken on live coverage of the Home Affairs and Culture committees as they grill increasingly important people about Bad Things That Have Been Going On.Â (Of course, it’s nothing to do with having to fill increasing numbers of 24 hour rolling news channels.)
This week, Bozza has been the star of the show, answering questions about the recent riots in London.Â And, despite the fact that he was in a VW Campervan somewhere in the Rocky Mountains at the time, the Mayor proved to be remarkably calm and knowledgeable about the recent trouble.
The Mayor told the committee that with more than 2,000 people arrested and more than 1,000 convicted in London alone, it was vital that these people were not abandoned by the criminal justice system. His comments echoed those of his colleague Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary.
The Mayor said: “One thing I do think the justice secretary is right to highlight is the importance, if you arrest such a huge number of people as we have and you put them into the criminal justice system, then you cannot simply abandon them there, you have to make sure they are educated in there.”
Boris revealed that 75% of those arrested had criminal records, while 83% had previous contact with police. He added: “What was going to make you more likely to riot? It was previous contact with the police, and that’s the problem that we need to tackle.”
Of course, if you want an alternative opinion on how you stop rioting in future, you could turn to that most liberal of observers, the Daily Mail‘s Quentin Letts. His ideas: “Stern discipline in classrooms, the withdrawal of benefits and the reintroduction of teaching the Ten Commandments at daily assembly: thatâ€™s how you could stop rioting.”