Pat McFadden Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East Pat McFadden MP for Wolverhampton South East
The Offensive weapons bill currently going through Parliament aims to place restrictions on the sale and use of knives and corrosive substances like acids. Those elements are not controversial and will have cross party support.
But there was one provision which would have criminalised the possession and use of larger kirpans.
These kirpans are commonly used on Sikh religious occasions and often kept at home.
MPs from the APPG for UK Sikhs, including Preet Gill, Dominic Grieve and me raised the issue with Victoria Atkins, the Home Office Minister in charge of the bill.
Following the latest meeting with the Minister on wed 21 November, she made clear the Government would bring forward its own amendment to ensure the status quo would prevail and there would be no change in the law relating to the larger kirpan.
I don’t think the Government ever really intended to restrict the use or ownership of the kirpan but the way the bill is currently drafted that could have been the effect. I am glad the Minister has listened to our representations and said that the Government will now bring forward an amendment to the bill to ensure that the status quo prevails and that there is no change on the rules governing the ownership or use of the kirpan. This means my Sikh constituents and the Sikh community throughout the UK, can continue to practise their religion freely. This is a good example of cross party working to ensure a sensible outcome. I am grateful to Preet Gill MP, Chair of the APPG for UK Sikhs, to Dominic Grieve MP and to the other MPs who supported the case we were making.