By politics.co.uk staff

David Cameron views last week's rioting as having the same transforming effect as the 9/11 attacks did on Tony Blair's premiership, Iain Duncan Smith believes.

The work and pensions secretary said Mr Cameron was "determined this is what he wants to do" after violence and disorder highlighted what the prime minister has called Britain's "moral collapse".

"It's like a reinvention of [Margaret] Thatcher's great drive," Mr Duncan Smith told the Spectator magazine.

"I always argued that the last Conservative government freed up the markets, but what was missing was the next bit. Getting society in Britain ready to meet that change. We never did.

"We ended up with a sort of mid-20th century society, many locked away in welfarism, and a 21st-century economy. We see now that one cannot meet the results of the other."

Earlier this week Mr Cameron announced a sweeping policy review covering all aspects of home affairs policy, as he made fixing Britain's "broken society" his "priority".

Part of that work will be tackling the UK's gang problem. Home secretary Theresa May will work with Mr Duncan Smith to tackle the problem, building on the latter's work at the Centre for Social Justice.

"There has been a lot of focus on debt and the economic crisis. Now, we have to focus on the social crisis," Mr Duncan Smith added.

"The prime minister made it clear that this, now, is his big focus. It is not possible to have watched or experienced any of these riots without realising that we’re in the last-chance saloon.

"This is our warning. That wasn't the crisis, but the crisis is coming. We can't let this go on any more, and I think the prime minister sees that."

There are up to 200 gangs in London, which will have to be tackled by offering their members education and protection, Mr Duncan Smith believes.

"Most of the kids didn’t want to be in the gangs at the beginning," he explained.

"If you're not in the gang, then you're against the gang and they will target you and your family. A lot of these kids are desperate for a way out."