Parties offer knife ban plan

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The Independent Online
The Whitehall logjam over a ban on combat knives could be broken by a joint initiative taken yesterday by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Picking up an offer made by the Prime Minister last week, and by the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, in the Commons last Monday, Jack Straw and Alex Carlile, the Labour and Liberal Democrat spokesmen, offered detailed proposals for a legal crackdown on the possession and sale of military-style knives.

They made no attempt to define a combat knife with the precision offered by The Independent this week. Instead, they produced a broadly drawn ban - with exemptions. It would be up to someone carrying a non- domestic knife to prove - if prosecuted - that it was "of a type normally used for the purposes of particular crafts or sports . . . agricultural, industrial or trade purposes, and he had it in his possession for that purpose".

Similarly, those making or selling knives would have to prove that they did so for purchase or hire "for the purpose of that craft, sport, agriculture, industry or trade".

A Home Office spokeswoman said last night that the proposal was being considered.

Donald Macintyre, page 19