Parents shouldn’t be criminalised for smacking their children, the Justice Secretary has said.
In a newspaper interview, Chris Grayling said his own children knew when they misbehaved they could get smacked by him.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, he said: “You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me.
“I’m not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally.
“Sometimes it sends a message – but I don’t hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school.”
Last year Labour MP David Lammy said parents should not be stigmatised if they choose to smack their children.
Mr Lammy, the MP for Tottenham in London, backed the right of parents to smack their children and criticised those who claim it is abuse, commenting: “There’s a big difference between abuse and parenting.”
The law on smacking in England and Wales allows parents to smack their children but legislation in 2004 restricted the defence of “reasonable chastisement”.
Also in 2012, a poll showed the public backed doing away with the restrictions on smacking.
Nearly two thirds, 60 per cent, of the public thought that the curbs should be scrapped.
And almost four out of five of the parents surveyed said that they had smacked their children.
The poll also found that nearly one third of parents were scared to smack their children because they feared running into trouble with the authorities.
Around 60 per cent of those polled attributed Labour’s curbs on smacking with a decline in discipline among the young.