Cameron War on Feckless Families; PM Attacks the Human Rights Laws and Backs National Service

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Byline: Tim Shipman and Kirsty Walker

DAVID Cameron announced a crackdown on 120,000 feckless families yesterday in a campaign to combat the 'moral collapse' which led to the riots.

Declaring 'all-out war' on gangs, the Prime Minister vowed to 'turn around' the most troubled families in the land and said he wants to see every 16-year-old complete a civilian version of national service.

He also denounced the 'chilling effect' of human rights legislation on behaviour and vowed to rewrite the rules when Britain takes over the chairmanship of the European Council in November.

Rights laws, said Mr Cameron, are exerting 'a corrosive influence on behaviour and morality' in a way which has 'undermined personal responsibility'.

His radical plans for action raised as many questions as they answered, however, with opponents pointing out that the Government has actually cut the amount spent on problem families.

Seeking to get on the front foot over the riots, Mr Cameron pledged to 'put rocket boosters' under ministerial plans to send experts in to advise parents on how to cook properly, discipline their children and seek work. Cabinet ministers will be ordered to review every policy to ensure it is family-friendly.

In a speech in his Witney constituency, Mr Cameron said: 'If we want to have any hope of mending our broken society, family and parenting is where we've got to start.

'Within the lifetime of this Parliament we will turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families in the country.

'From here on I want a family test applied to all domestic policy. If it hurts families, if it undermines commitment, if it tramples over the values that keeps people together, or stops families from being together, then we shouldn't do it.' Aides said Mr Cameron would order ministers to help his family champion, social entrepreneur Emma Harrison, who was appointed last year. Her plans will see police, social workers and jobcentres work together.

The Prime Minister added: 'We've got to be less sensitive to the charge that this is about interfering or nannying.' But he admitted the plans have become stalled. 'I will make sure that we clear away the red tape and the bureaucratic wrangling, and put rocket boosters under this programme.'

Mr Cameron has already called for a British Bill of Rights to enable human rights laws to be determined by Westminster, not Europe. But he has previously been attacked for failing to heed growing Tory back-bench demands to repeal Labour's Human Rights Act. …