MSPs vote to criminalise parents who smack their children

Scottish politicians have backed the general principles of a smacking ban which could criminalise thousands of parents.

John Finnie’s Bill was passed by 80 votes to 29, with two abstentions from SNP MSPs. The Bill will now be considered in more detail.

Yesterday, some MSPs spoke out to say the legislation would waste police time and was “not fit for purpose”.

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Unanswered questions

Christine Grahame said the legislation currently had “too many unanswered questions” and had “a whole host of possible unintended consequences”.

Fellow SNP MSP Richard Lyle warned that police and social workers’ time would be wasted by having to investigate “decent families”.

Both abstained – defying their party’s instructions. All 29 ‘no’ voters were Conservatives while Labour and the Greens told their MSPs to back the Bill.


Be Reasonable, which is backed by The Christian Institute, said: “It’s obviously disappointing that so many MSPs have backed the criminalisation of loving parents.

“But those who spoke against the Bill made a compelling case for why it is a bad idea. And even those who supported it felt the need to try to grapple with the arguments that Scottish parents and other opponents of the Bill have been making.

“It’s a reminder of the importance of writing to MSPs, and we urge people to continue doing just that.”

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill now goes to Stage 2 where MSPs will consider amendments, before voting again.

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