Jack Woodley: Yvette Cooper pledges knife crime action after speaking to mum of murdered teen

Yvette Cooper referenced her meeting with Zoe McGill, mum of Jack Woodley, in her Labour party conference speech. Credit: PA/Family

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has pledged to follow the calls of a murder victim's family to save other children from knife crime.

Ms Cooper mentioned her meeting with Zoe McGill, the mother of 18-year-old Jack Woodley, who was stabbed to death in 2021, during her speech at the Labour party conference.

She said: "She showed me a video that she kept on her phone of her cradling her teenage son in his hospital bed, singing to him as he lay dying from a knife wound. It was one of the hardest things I have done in this job."

"It's families who feel like they have lost their futures, but who are calling for us to help them save other children's lives," she continued.

"Knife crime has gone up 70% in eight years, with some of the steepest increases in towns and suburbs. Far too little is done and a generation is being lost. We must not fail them any more."

She said Labour would crack down on "dangerous knife sales", including online sales.

An investigation by ITV Tyne Tees this year revealed how easy it was to buy a variety of knives online and without background checks.

In August, the government pledged to ban the sale of so-called "zombie" or "rambo" knives - like the one used to kill Jack.

Ms Cooper also said Labour would set up 90 youth hubs to give teenagers the "best start in life".

Under the cross-government proposals drawn up by Labour, the programme would be rolled out across the UK to identify vulnerable young people to stop them being pulled into a life of crime.

It will be developed with local government leaders, experts, and young people themselves, and local partnerships will be measured against a national outcomes framework to allow for local innovation in delivery.

The initial focus of the programme will be knife crime but once the programme is demonstrating results, Labour will look to expand the remit beyond youth violence and into other mission objectives such as educational attainment.

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