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20 October 2011 2:45 PM

Ken and Theresa in Knife Row

After "catgate", Theresa May and Ken Clarke are back at loggerheads, The Standard has been told. This time it is over knife crime.

The Home Secretary is said to be backing automatic custodial sentences for under-18s who threaten people with a knife.

But Justice Secretary Mr Clarke is opposing this mandatory detention of younger teenagers, believing these decision should be down to judges.

The showdown could come to a head next week if Conservative MP Nick de Bois succeeds in tabling an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which would impose automatic sentences on 15, 16 and 17-year-olds for using a knife to threaten or endanger life- as well as adults.

Today London Mayor Boris Johnson intervened in the row by backing lowering the age for these automatic sentences.

"In principal, I support extending these sentences to include under 18s, but there are additional considerations we need to factor in to make sure this is implemented successfully," he told The Standard.

"In short, the message needs to be clear that carrying knives results in a long prison term regardless of age."

With Theresa and Boris demanding tougher sentences, David Cameron may have to think again. But he will no doubt be keen to avoid another catfight between Ken and Theresa.

Nicholas Cecil

Comments

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Remhonps

Did they stop the Glasgow razor slashers on the basis of 1 year for every stich?

blingmun

Ken Clarke is one of the last of a dying breed. Him and his ilk sold this country down the river and it is they, not the Eurosceptics who have been so divisive within the Tory party.

The sooner he is out of public life the better.

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