Keir Starmer pledges to ban zombie knives within six months of Labour government

25 June 2024, 15:51

Sir Keir Starmer has made it his ‘moral mission’ to reduce knife crime
Sir Keir Starmer has made it his ‘moral mission’ to reduce knife crime. Picture: Alamy
Fraser Knight.

By Fraser Knight.

The Labour leader, meeting families bereaved by knife crime, has urged them to write to him within three to six months of a Labour government to ‘hold him to account’.

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Sir Keir Starmer, flanked by the actor and campaigner Idris Elba, met with the parents of four killed teenagers to discuss his ‘moral mission’ to reduce knife crime in the country.

He announced plans to ban the online sale of weapons through ‘Ronan’s Law’ - named after the 16 year-old Ronan Kanda, from Wolverhampton.

Just last week, his mum Pooja told LBC she was frustrated at the lack of progress being made, after her son was killed on their doorstep in 2022, in a case of mistaken identity.

Reacting to the Labour announcement, she told us: “I feel like my son made a difference in his life and in his death. He’s come as a strength that was much needed in the community.

“This is very important to me that my son has made such a difference and it only shows me that if you work harder and you pick the right fights it can happen. Ronan is an amazing, loving and caring child and he’s definitely made a difference in his death today.

“He’d be telling me ‘mum you’re amazing, mum we did it - we did it together’.”

During a roundtable conversation with Pooja and her daughters, along with the family of Ben Kinsella, Dwayne Simpson and Andre Aderemi, the Luther actor Elba said the issue of knife crime needs to be cross-party.

“For me it’s non-political - I’m not here to do politics but at the end of the day there needs to be a long-term plan.

“This doesn’t stop. We need to keep going and hold the government - whatever government it is - accountable.”

Speaking to LBC after the event, the Labour leader said he imagines there will be tangible progress immediately, if his party gets into power.

“There are some things we can do very quickly. This question of banning the online sale of knives should have been done years ago. The government has announced it 16 times, maybe 17 times. We've said we will support it but we still haven't passed the legislation.

“The government has or did have draft legislation on it and there is broadly cross-party consensus on it so it is something that should be done quickly.”

The Conservatives have blamed the London Mayor for distorting the knife crime figures in the UK, saying “they’ve gone through the roof”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly told LBC: “Across most of the country stop and search has increased - when you stop and search you find knives and those are reported as crimes.

“The actual number of people hurt with a bladed weapon for the most part has come down. It is distorted by London where it has gone up because a Labour political leader has discouraged stop and search and failed to recruit the number of police officers.”

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