Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:02 am on 9th May 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 11:02 am, 9th May 2019

The Offensive Weapons Bill seeks to strengthen legislation on weapons such as knives. The Bill is important, but friends in the Sikh community were concerned that it would impinge on their freedom to carry the kirpan, or ceremonial sword, which is an ingrained part of their religious practice similar to wearing a cross. There must always be a balance between freedom and public safety. I am delighted that the Government have considered that balance and amended the Bill to accommodate Sikh religious freedom. That positive result highlights the importance of considering freedom of religion or belief in all Government policy. Will the Leader of the House join me and others in welcoming that decision?