THE JUSTICE Secretary has said he is taking an amendment to knife legislation backed by the Enfield Independent under “careful consideration”.
Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee's investigation into how to police rioting, Ken Clarke said extending mandatory sentences for those who use knives in a threatening or endangering fashion to under 18s was “a bit of a leap for British justice”.
But he said the Government was still considering backing our Don't Carry, Don't Kill campaign's demand, spearheaded by Enfield North MP Nick de Bois and backed by anti-gang charities, Enfield Council and the Metropolitan Police Federation.
Mr Clarke said: “The idea that mandatory sentences now apply to certain types of offence – to young offenders, to children, to juveniles, is a bit of a leap for the British judicial system.
“It’s rather an American thing, based on the assumption that you can’t leave it to the judge to listen to the circumstances of the offender, or the circumstances of the offences – Parliament has to lay down a mandatory minimum in all cases, come what may.”
Mr Clarke and Prime Minister David Cameron are coming under increasing pressure to accept the amendment, which is likely to be tabled in Parliament next week.
More than 40 MPs are backing our campaign, and two Labour MPs challenged Mr Cameron to join them at Prime Minister's Questions last week.
Mr de Bois delivered a petition signed by around 700 Enfield residents to Parliament on Friday.
This year alone in Enfield, two teenage boys and a young man have been stabbed to death on our streets, and we believe urgent action is needed to reverse the knife crime culture on our streets.
And Yvonne Lawson, the mother of promising teenage footballer Godwin, who was stabbed to death protecting his friend last year, is supporting our bid.
We say to the Government – enough is enough. Something has to change.