Smacking: Scots Lib Dems narrowly vote against ban

An MP has failed in an attempt to make a ban on smacking part of the Scottish Liberal Democrat’s official party policy.

Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart wanted to scrap the defence of “reasonable chastisement” that allows parents to physically discipline their children.

Mr Crockart said he had smacked his own son, but now wanted to outlaw the practice.


However his motion at the Scottish Lib Dem spring conference in Dundee was defeated by 51 votes to 42.

One Edinburgh delegate, Derek Young, said some child psychologists argued a light smack on rare occasions could produce positive results.

“It can emphasise parents are serious, it can get kids’ attention, it can provide a clarity of focus and lead to better behaviour in adolescence and even better results at school.”


Earlier this month Mr Crockart commented: “I have an 18-year-old son and a six-year-old son.

“I hold my hands up – 15 years ago it was a different culture and I did smack my older boy.”

But he said he thinks it was “completely and utterly the wrong thing to do”.

Mr Crockart instead praised putting children on a “naughty step”.


Last month in England Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said parents shouldn’t be criminalised for smacking their children.

In a newspaper interview, he said his own children knew when they misbehaved they could get smacked by him.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Grayling 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.”

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