Parting of the ways: End of consensus for Cameron and Miliband

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron and Ed Miliband's short-lived period of consensus over the riots that hit England last week came to a crashing end today.

Just minutes after the prime minister finished a speech blaming the disorder on a lack of personal responsibility, Mr Miliband hit out, branding him "shallow and superficial".

Mr Cameron promised to review government policy across the board with an eye to supporting marriage and reducing the role of state regulations in local communities.

The prime minister also blamed the Human Rights Act and health and safety laws for reducing people's sense of responsibility.

Mr Miliband could not have struck a more different tone, calling for a national inquiry and citing inequality and disadvantage as factors.

"A prime minister who used to say the answer was to hug a hoodie now says the answer is to reform our health and safety laws," he said during the speech at his old school in Chalk Farm, north London.

"A crisis tells us something about our political leaders. Day by day the prime minister has revealed himself to be reaching for shallow and superficial answers."

Ed Miliband 'national conversation' speech in full

The Labour leader also criticised the government for entering into a war of words with the police instead of dealing with the aftermath of the violence.

He was particularly scathing about Mr Cameron's "unseemly attempt… to take credit for operational decisions when things went well."

The prime minister, who delivered his speech against a backdrop of graffiti in Gloucestershire, said the riots had rekindled his passion for one of the core aspects of his time in opposition – the 'broken society'.

"Families matter," he said.

"I’ve been saying this for years, since before I was prime minister, since before I was leader of the Conservative party.

"So 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 keep people together, or stops families from being together, then we shouldn't do it."

Cameron 'fight-back' speech in full

Mr Cameron is fighting Mr Miliband's demands for a national inquiry, insisting the current home affairs committee investigation is sufficient.