Attempt to ban smacking collapses

A move by over 100 MPs to ban smacking fell at the first hurdle yesterday, when a government time limit on debate expired.

The group of mainly Labour MPs had planned to amend the children and young persons bill to prevent parents from smacking their children.

They had previously sent an open letter to Gordon Brown calling for a free vote on the issue as a matter of conscience.

But minister believe there is public support on the issue, for the law’s current status, whereby parents can chastise their child as long as they never inflict a mark or injury.

The issue of smacking last passed through parliament in 2004 when the government saw off a modest rebellion with Conservative support.