A politician is calling for self-defence to be taught in schools to combat knife crime in the capital.

Molly Samuel-Leport, a former world karate champion, is Conservative candidate for Harrow and Brent for the London Assembly elections in 2020.

Ms Samuel-Leport believes schools are not tackling crime among young people at risk of getting caught up in violence in the right way.

She said: “I believe there is a different approach to cutting knife crime – by changing the curriculum in schools.

“Bring in self-defence.”

The former athlete says teaching children self-defence is not about teaching them how to defend themselves but encourages people to respect each other.

She said: “It’s not necessarily about using your hands – you are teaching children about respect.”

Ms Samuel-Leport also said we cannot “blame parents” and that schools have a duty to look after children.

She said: “We need to stop excluding children. Children should be in schools and taught by people who know how to deal with them.

“They need hope and someone who truly believes in them and not just be taught by people from academic backgrounds.

“When you exclude children from school you have to understand you are pushing them into the wrong hands.”

Ms Samuel-Leport says she also wants to stop Harrow and Brent becoming overdeveloped as well as reducing air pollution, and pollution-related conditions such as asthma.

She said: “I would go into the community and speak to people directly. I want to champion their views in the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London Assembly.”

Ms Samuel- Leport currently currently lives outside the borough but says she is moving Harrow in the near future.

She said she chose to stand for Assembly Member for Harrow and Brent because she has a lot of family living in the area.

She added: “It’s not where you are it’s what you believe you can do.”

Ms Samuel-Leport was unsuccessful in becoming a councillor in Wood Green in the 2014 and 2018 elections.

But speaking about why she thinks she is the best person to represent Harrow and Brent in the London Assembly, she said: “I have been a single parent, worked as a cleaner and lived on the 21st floor of an apartment block.

“I have struggled, and I have turned those things I have gone through into success. I believe that I resonate with people.”