Labour's shadow minister for policing has called for the banning of highly corrosive drain cleaners unless users have a licence.

It would mean anyone buying or even possessing the products without a permit could be jailed for up to two years.

It comes in the wake of an attack in Stratford, east London, on Saturday evening (23 September) which saw six people injured when they were sprayed with a noxious substance.

Louise Haigh MP accused the government of failing to get a grip on the significant rise in acid attacks suffered in London over the past three years.

Ministers have so far only sought to restrict access to the most harmful corrosive products by asking retailers to stop selling the items.

"The government appears content to stick to a series of completely unenforceable voluntary commitments that will leave the public at risk," Haigh MP told the Evening Standard.

"It's time ministers stopped dragging their feet. If they bring forward proposals to restrict the sale of substances like sulphuric acid they will have the support of Parliament and the public."

Under current regulation, sulphuric acid is classed as a "reportable substance", meaning retailers only have to inform police of suspicious transactions.

Found in many drain cleaner products, it is readily available to buy in shops and online with one-litre bottles of 91% strength costing as little as £5.

The Haigh MP has called for it to be reclassified as a "regulated substance" that requires a licence, putting it in the same category as some dangerous poisons and explosive materials.

It would mean any household wanting to buy, carry or use the substance would first have to obtain a permit from the Home Office, or they could be guilty of a criminal offence and jailed for a maximum of two years.

With many household products like bleach or drain cleaner containing corrosive substances, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has previously warned a ban would be "virtually impossible".

But the Home Office says it is currently reviewing the Poisons Act 1972 – the legislation regulating the sale of dangerous substances – to assess whether it should also cover these acids.

They are also in discussions with the British Retail Consortium, a trade association representing 170 businesses, including major supermarkets, which earlier this year backed calls for buyers of sulphuric acid to need a licence.

Saturday's incident in Stratford comes as London saw a 173% rise in the number of attacks involving corrosive or noxious substances between 2014 and 2016, from 166 to 454.

Separate data from 39 police forces across the country also reported 408 such attacks between November 2016 and April 2017.

Bleach was involved in 71 of these incidents, ammonia in 69 and acid in 56. Other stated substances, of which there were 107, included boiling water, lighter fluid, petrol, CS and pepper spray and non-ammonia/bleach household cleaning products.

No information was provided on the liquids used in the remainder of the incidents.

Earlier this month, the Home Office and NPCC said it planned to commission further research to look at the range of motivations for acid attacks.