Express & Star

Leader of the House of Commons meets parents of slain James Brindley to discuss knife crime

The Leader of the House of Commons told the parents of a slain teenager that she believes "action will be taken" over banning the online sale of zombie knives.

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Penny Mordaunt MP meets Mark and Beverley Brindley with Wendy Morton MP and Councillor Tim Wilson

Penny Mordaunt MP was in the Black Country to meet the parents of James Brindley, who was knifed to death in 2017, and inspect their charity's new generation of knife amnesty bins.

As well as supporting the Brindleys' campaign to include knife crime lessons in the national curriculum, Mrs Mordaunt backed Wolverhampton schoolboy Ronan Kanda's family's fight to ban the online sale of zombie knives.

Speaking metres from where James Brindley was murdered in Aldridge, Mrs Mordaunt told the Express & Star: "I think this is crazy, that you can buy these things online and no one bats an eyelid or checks who is buying, I think it is quite wrong.

"It is right we [the Government] are consulting on this, and I expect action to be taken."

Penny Mordaunt PM listened intently to the Brindleys' work tackling knife crime

As Leader of the House Mrs Mordaunt helps decide what is debated in Parliament. She is backing Aldridge MP Wendy Morton's call for a knife crime debate.

She said: "I really wanted to come to Aldridge to meet these incredible people. Wendy raised their work in the Commons, which is the first time I heard how they turned a tragic event in their lives into something positive.

"I think these knife amnesty bins are a really clever initiative, at the heart of it it is trying to get young people to be part of the solution."

She added: "We do have a good track record on knife crime, it has come down substantially - but parts of the country it hasn't where it is still a problem.

"We need to recognise the presence of a knife just changes the situation and so removing them or preventing them getting into the hands of people is a huge part of the solution.

"So much of this is not by design, it is an evening that has gone terribly wrong. The Government can legislate but it takes community initiatives like this with backing of local MPs and authorities which is needed."

Penny Mordaunt MP meets Mark Brindley just metres from where he son James was murdered

Wendy Morton MP is delighted to have the backing of Mrs Mordaunt over her quest to get a full Parliamentary debate on knife crime so MPs can address the tragedy of so many lives being lost at the end of a blade.

She said: "When I get back to Parliament I will put a request in for a full debate about knife crime, I am a back bencher now and want to make the most of it.

"I am so pleased Penny took the time to come to Aldridge and hear what The James Brindley Foundation is doing on a street level."

She added: "Penny has been very supportive, as have the Government, but I want to find about more about why our children feel the need to carry a knife to feel safe."

Mark Brindley wants the Government to include knife crime lessons in the national education curriculum and needs 100,000 people to sign the trust's online petition which will then trigger an automatic debate in Parliament.

He said: "Children and young people are the most likely in society to be a victim of knife crime or be the most likely to be involved in a murder.

"The young people are making catastrophic decisions which affect the rest of their lives. We need knife crime to be discussed in the classroom.

"We want the Government to include knife crime in the national curriculum. Our petition nearly has 10,000 signatures but we need 100,000 for a debate in Parliament.

"However, if our MP Wendy Morton gets a debate with the backing of Mrs Mordaunt then it would speed the whole process up."

He added: "Our new knife amnesty bins now include a QR code where youngsters can get support and information. And we are working on an app so youngsters who want to drop a knife off can log why they are leaving the house with a knife."

Aldridge Central and South Councillor Tim Wilson is proud Walsall Council is supporting the James Brindley Trust.

He said: "The work Mark and Beverly do is amazing, and is really making a difference. It is great Penny Mordaunt took time out to see what is happing at street level about tackling knife crime.

"It is important for the Government to see what gets done a local level."

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