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Tories accused of exploiting teacher death in knife crime row

Angry Liberal Democrats have accused Tories of seeking to exploit the death of a teacher for political gain after leaked letters revealed that Nick Clegg blocked automatic jail terms for repeat knife crimes.

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Coalition split over knife crime punishment

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are at loggerheads over proposals to tighten up the law on knife crime.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wants to bring in an automatic six-month jail term for anyone convicted of a second crime involving a knife.

The Tory Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, wants to increase prison sentences for knife crime. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

But the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, is concerned that the move would be expensive and put too much pressure on prison places.

A leaked letter from Mr Alexander to Nick Clegg, published in the Daily Mail, says:

‘It is very hard to see how it could be afforded. The Treasury does not support this amendment and I am not willing to clear it."

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