I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from “House”
to the end of the Question and add:
“welcomes the Government’s comprehensive proposals to cut crime and increase the democratic accountability of policing while dealing with the largest peacetime deficit in history;
supports the Government’s determination to help the police make savings to protect frontline services;
congratulates the police forces that are increasing the number of officers visible and available to the public;
notes that the Opposition’s spending plans require reductions in police spending;
and regrets its refusal to support sensible savings or to set out an alternative.”
I want to start by saying that in this country we have the finest police in the world. The tragic events in Omagh at the weekend have yet again shown the bravery of police officers serving in all parts of the United Kingdom. They put their lives on the line day in, day out, and I am sure that the whole House will join with me in paying tribute to the courage, dedication and commitment of all our police officers.
I am delighted that we are having this debate today. Of course, Yvette Cooper wanted to hold it last time there was an Opposition day, but she was overruled by the shadow Chancellor—not for the first time, I understand. From looking at the text of the Opposition motion and listening to the right hon. Lady’s speech, one might think that they had not planned to make any cuts to policing budgets, but in fact Labour’s overall spending plans involved £14 billion of cuts to Government spending this year, including cuts to the policing budget. The Opposition just will not tell Parliament, the police or the public how they would make them.