MPs call for smacking ban

Over 100 Labour MPs are calling for an amendment to the upcoming children and young persons bill which would ban parents from smacking their children.

The MPs have written to Gordon Brown calling for a free vote on the bill, although government sources indicate that is unlikely to happen.

Minister believe they have public support for the law’s current status, whereby parents can chastise their child as long as they never inflict a mark or injury.

There is a chance some of the 111 MPs could rebel against the government and vote against the bill although parliamentary observers doubt it will come to that.

The letter reads: “This is clearly a conscience issue, equal to any others that have been granted such status. It should be debated and voted on freely, fairly and openly, in the parliamentary tradition.

“We are all Labour supporters and do not relish an unnecessary public battle with the government over a reform which we believe to be vital and long-overdue.”

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