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Smart attacks "silly" Labour knives policy

21 February 2011

Scottish Labour's policy on knife crime has been described as "silly" by a lawyer who hopes to represent the party at Holyrood.

Ian Smart, a former President of the Law Society of Scotland, is one of six candidates for the seat to be vacated by Wendy Alexander, who last week announced her decision to stand down as an MSP before the election in May.

Labour go into the election promising a law to impose a mandatory six month jail term on anyone caught carrying a knife. Mr Smart however said: "No government is ever going to do that. We should stop being silly about it."

He recognised however that Scotland had a serious problem with knife crime and a second or subsequent conviction might be a different matter.

Mr Smart also went against the party leadership by saying that he personally would have made the same decision as Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to free convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds, on the medical evidence put to Mr MacAskill at the time.

Five Renfrewshire councillors are also seeking the nomination for Ms Alexander's Paisley North seat. Mr Smart comes from Paisley and now runs his own legal practice in Cumbernauld.

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