I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding me what Chief Constable Chris Sims has said. I have mentioned the former chief constable of Hampshire; let me turn to the chief constable of Kent, who has said:
“The cuts, if they are 20%, will take us back to 2001…that’s…a significant drawback into police numbers. Clearly there is a potential impact that crime will rise.”
“the most difficult financial year for policing in living memory”.
The chief constable of Lancashire has said:
“Let me be…clear. With the scale of the cuts…we are experiencing…we cannot leave the front line untouched.”
The chief constable of Dyfed Powys, Ian Arundale, said last year that we are approaching a cliff edge on policing. These are serious people. [Interruption.] The Minister again shouts, “Where’s the money coming from?” I have explained to him, very clearly, the difference between 12% and 20% cuts in policing. This Minister is supporting a 20% cut in policing, having gone into the election arguing for 3,000 more police officers. This Minister is taking 15,000 police officers off the streets of Britain, when he promised at the election to put 3,000 more police officers on to the streets of Britain. I will let the British people judge on that in due course and we will argue about those issues in due course. [Interruption.]
If the Minister wants to have a discussion about Eastleigh, I can tell him that John O’Farrell, the Labour candidate, will certainly be able to campaign strongly, given the 295 police officers lost because of the votes of Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members today. I look forward to the Labour campaign in Eastleigh focusing on crime and punishment. I also look forward to reminding the people of Eastleigh that the Liberal Democrats proposed 3,000 more police officers, along with no rise in tuition fees and various other issues that they have broken their promises on. [Interruption.] The Minister appears to have been injected with something over the last couple of hours, because he is really quite frisky. He seemed to be hyper throughout his contribution; now that he has sat down, he still seems to be hyper. I do not know who will win the by-election in Eastleigh; the people of Eastleigh will choose their next Member of Parliament. The key question they need to ask is: who is going to stand up against the coalition Government? I suspect that neither a Liberal Democrat nor a Conservative MP will do that. Let the people of Eastleigh make that judgment.