Bring back Victorian values, says key Tory

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The Tories are to launch the biggest crusade for personal morality since John Major's ill-fated 'back to basics' campaign, demanding the right for citizens to tackle teenage yobs physically and calling for a reduction in family breakdowns.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, told The Observer that people who slapped others or scuffled with youths while trying to stop crimes being committed should not be prosecuted. His words mark a clear break with David Cameron's 'hug a hoodie' rhetoric. Asked about family breakdowns, he said the strict Victorian approach to family life had, in some ways, been successful, adding that parents must be responsible for their children and communities.

'You can argue that our Victorian forebears succeeded in achieving something very unusual between the 1850s and 1900 in changing public attitudes by - dare one use the word - instilling moral codes. I don't want to suggest this was an ideal society, but it was one where a sense of moral values and of the responsibility people owed to each other did seem to be pervasive. There was a much greater sense of shame in respect of transgressions.'

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