UK Politics

Theresa May urges tougher knife crime sentences

Knife Image copyright PA
Image caption Mrs May said she had a different opinion from some of her colleagues

Home Secretary Theresa May has given her public backing to tougher sentences for knife crime.

She told the Enfield Independent newspaper that the move would send a "very strong signal".

Conservative MP for Enfield North, Nick de Bois, has tabled a Commons amendment that would see mandatory jail sentences for anyone caught with a knife twice.

This position is backed by some Conservatives but not agreed across government amid Lib Dem opposition.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling proposed the change within government, but it is not yet clear whether the prime minister will support the policy.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came out against the proposal after details of Lib Dem opposition were leaked to the Daily Mail.

He said the move would "turn the young offenders of today into the hardened criminals of tomorrow".

Mrs May's intervention will increase the pressure on Conservatives to announce whether they intend to vote against their coalition partners when the amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is debated in the House of Commons.

She told Mr de Bois's local newspaper: "I think we should have a mandatory sentence for somebody who has carried a knife for the second time.

"I have a difference in view from some members of the coalition."

She added: "I would hope people see the sense in this and come together and say we need to give a very strong signal."

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