BRISTOL’S MPs condemned the city’s violence, as the Prime Minister announced that Parliament is being recalled to address the nationwide rioting.
Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West, said: “My reaction is one of any sane member of the public, which is that it is completely unjustified.
“It is not really rioting, it is actually just looting and the behaviour of vandals.
“A riot has to have a justified political cause behind it, whether it is fighting racism or for democracy,” he said.
“But smashing shops, setting bins on fire or stealing jewellery has got nothing to do with legitimate political cause and everything to do with theft and opportunism.”
Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, said: “I think it was just really a copycat riot, almost the view that if everywhere else is having a riot, it was an opportunity to kick things off in Bristol.
“It seems it was a general anarchist mentality of having a go at the police and causing mayhem.
“It was silly for people to try to copy what happened in London in Bristol, as people end up smashing up their own communities and it doesn’t serve a purpose at all,” Ms McCarthy said.
“With Stokes Croft earlier this year there were elements in that where people were angry about something, but these riots were just people feeling that they needed to join in.”
Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb said: “One of the things that strikes me about the Bristol situation is that there were about 200 people involved.
“Bristol itself is a city of hundreds of thousands of people, and the vast majority are decent and law-abiding and disgusted by what they’re seeing.
“We as a community have to say it’s got to stop. This is not about the recession, or poverty, it’s copycat thuggishness, putting people’s lives at risk.”
Mr Webb defended Prime Minister David Cameron against accusations he had been too slow to react, having remained on holiday in Italy during the start of the rioting.
He said: “I don’t imagine he was sunning himself all the time he was in Italy.”
North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was trying to change his flights from the United States in order to be back in time for today’s sitting, his spokesman said.
Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti also said that he would be in Parliament for the recall.
He added: “The scenes we have seen in Bristol, London, and other cities throughout the UK are an utter disgrace, and I condemn in the strongest possible terms these opportunistic thugs and thieves who have ruined the lives and livelihoods of many within their own communities.
“I fully support the measures being taken by the police to prevent any further unrest, and earnestly hope that all those who have engaged in this mindless vandalism, and those who seek to cause any future incidents, are met with the full force of the law.
“Those who believe it is acceptable to vandalise, steal, and intimidate should, and I hope will, be arrested.”