Scottish Labour backs ‘anti-parent’ smacking ban

The Scottish Labour Party has given its support to a Member’s Bill which would criminalise parents who smack their children.

The proposal to implement a ban has been put forward by Green MSP John Finnie.

Critics have said that outlawing smacking would criminalise thousands of ordinary parents, leaving them at risk of being labelled as child abusers.

Govt backing

Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray MSP claimed that supporting a smacking ban was “the right thing to do”.

It is already illegal in Scotland to discipline by shaking, to use any implement, or direct any smack at the head.

But Finnie’s Bill could see parents handed a criminal record for lovingly disciplining their children with a light smack.

The Scottish Government said last night that it would “ensure” a ban becomes law.

Be Reasonable

Campaign group, Be Reasonable Scotland, backed by The Christian Institute and the Family Education Trust, is calling for the concerning Bill to be dropped.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “The present law allowing ‘reasonable chastisement’ is clear and widely understood. But if this defence is removed, any form of chastisement, however mild, will break the law and risk prosecution for ordinary parents.

“Why Labour MSPs would want to vote to criminalise their own constituents I can’t imagine.”

For more information, visit Be Reasonable Scotland’s website.


In Wales, a recent opinion poll showed widespread concern at a similar plan to ban smacking put forward by the Welsh Government.

The ComRes poll found that 76 per cent are opposed to making parental smacking of children a criminal offence and 77 per cent are concerned it will make it harder for police and social services to tackle actual child abuse.

Visit the campaign website for Be Reasonable Wales.

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