Bid to ban smacking fails in the Commons

10 OCT 2008
FRI 10/10/2008 - A backbench attempt to ban smacking in England and Wales failed to secure a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

A last minute amendment to change the law was tabled just two days before the Children and Young Persons Bill was due to be considered by MPs.

However, there was limited time for debate on the Bill and the amendment was not reached.

Government research has found that 70 per cent of parents oppose an outright ban.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls recently said that the Government would not support the move. He said it would be difficult to police and "the wrong thing to do for children".

Greg Pope, a former Labour whip who attempted to secure the ban on smacking said: "It is simply wrong that a form of violence that would lead to criminal charges if it was inflicted on an adult is lawful so long as a child is the victim".

In 2004, 47 Labour MPs failed to outlaw smacking when they rebelled against the party whip to vote for an all-out ban.

The 2004 Children Act removed the legal defence of "reasonable punishment" for parents and carers who assault their children. Under the Act, parents are currently allowed to smack their children as long as it doesn't leave visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts.
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