Renewed attempts to ban smacking ignore majority

A new backbench attempt to ban smacking is being made in spite of recent Government findings that most parents want it to remain legal.

Reports in The Guardian suggest that a number of backbench Labour MPs are calling on colleagues to support an outright ban on smacking, and want to be allowed a free vote on the issue.

It appears they plan to table an amendment to the Children and Young Persons Bill when it reaches the Commons. The Bill is currently in the Lords.

However, a recent Government review of the law on smacking found that only one in five parents supported an outright ban.

Of around 2,000 parents surveyed, nearly six in ten had smacked their children and 70% thought that smacking should remain legal.

Following the review, Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan ruled out the possibility of a ban, saying that the Government would seek to promote “positive parenting” instead.

He told MPs last year: “Whilst many parents say they will not smack, a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright.

“The Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily.”

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it is lawful for parents to use ‘reasonable chastisement’ as long as it does not leave more than a transitory mark on the child. In Scotland, smacking is allowed but use of implements, shaking or blows to the head is outlawed.