See that my good friend, Lord Carlile of Berriew has been telling the BBC that he thinks the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are going to 'fall-out' over the sentencing of rioters. I do not think this will be the case - at least not to any meaningful extent. I do agree there may be differences in rhetoric, but I would expect the MPs of both parties to accept that politicians should not interfere with the courts.
Despite this non-interference approach, there is absolutely no reason why politicians should not have an opinion. It would be very odd if politicians did not have an opinion on a matter of such importance. I also believe that all MPs accept, as Lord Carlile seems to that "There is absolutely no doubt that the riot situation calls for severer sentences". There is a difference between stealing something, and 'looting' as part of a riot, even when the act, in isolation, is the same. Our magistrates and judges know this, and will sentence accordingly - which is why we've been seeing some harsh punishments handed down. No doubt some of these will be reduced on appeal. Nothing wrong with that, because the appeal system is part of the judicial process. Must add that I have been hugely impressed by how the court system has risen to the challenge of dealing with so many criminals at the same time.