British PM returning from holiday to deal with riots

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Prime Minister David Cameron will cut short his holiday to return to Britain overnight Monday to deal with the rioting spreading across London, Downing Street said.

He will chair a meeting of Britain's emergency response committee and hold separate talks with the interior minister and the acting police chief upon his return, a brief statement said.

"The prime minister will be returning to London overnight tonight," a spokeswoman said.

"The prime minister will chair COBR to discuss the London riots. He will also be meeting with the Home Secretary (Theresa May) and the Acting Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin."

Violence spread across London for a third day on Monday with riot police tackling youths setting fire to cars and properties and looting shops in some of the worst rioting in the capital in years.

Cameron is on holiday with his family in a luxury villa in Tuscany in Italy. His office said last week he would not return to Britain amid the eurozone debt crisis, but he has decided he will now come back to deal with the escalating violence in London.

COBR stands for the Cabinet Office Briefing Room, a government secure room fitted with video and audio links which is used to deal with emergency situations.

The make-up of those on the committee varies according to the nature of the problem but usually involves senior ministers, other key ministers and relevant outside figures such as military or police chiefs.

© 2011 AFP

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