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Posted: 11/2/2004 4:55:18 AM EST

Nov 2, 9:28 AM (ET)

By ED JOHNSON

LONDON (AP) - British lawmakers will vote Tuesday on whether parents should be banned from smacking their children, an emotive issue that has caused rumblings of dissent in Prime Minister Tony Blair's governing Labour Party.

The government is opposed to an outright ban, and says parents should be allowed to exercise "reasonable chastisement." A number of Labour lawmakers, however, are unhappy with legislation before the House of Commons, and are calling for any form of physical punishment to be outlawed.

The government's plans to tighten the existing law, but still allow moderate smacking, are unlikely to be scuppered, however.

Britain is out of step on the issue with several European countries, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Austria, where all physical punishment of children is illegal.

Pressure groups insist children must have the same legal protection from being hit as adults and had called for the law to be changed. Blair's government has repeatedly shied away from a ban, fearing it will be accused of intruding into family affairs.

The current law dates back to a case in 1860, when a judge ruled that physical punishment of children should be allowed as a "reasonable chastisement."

Campaigners argue that ruling is ambiguous and two parliamentary committees have said it is too often used as a legal defense to excuse violent behavior that goes far beyond a smack.

Earlier this year in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester proposed amending the law to allow moderate spanking, but remove the "reasonable chastisement" defense if parents harmed a child physically or mentally.

The government is urging lawmakers to back the Lester amendment when the House of Commons votes later Tuesday. Labour lawmakers have been threatened with disciplinary measures if they back a rebel amendment calling for a total ban.

If the legislation is approved, the new law will make it easier for authorities to prosecute violent parents, officials said.


Link Posted: 11/2/2004 4:58:35 AM EST
Won't matter what they vote. If the damned sheeple over there agree to the EU in 2006 vote they won't have control over their laws, Brussels will and you can be damn sure that they'll "harmonize" things like this REAL QUICK to "European standards".
Link Posted: 11/2/2004 5:21:23 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2004 5:40:30 AM EST by equin0x]
Actually, a lot of us sheeple dont want anything to do with the European Constitution, and will vote against it without even reading it. Personally I wont be deciding till I have read it.

But, the Right Honourable Tony Blair MP signed the damn thing last week, it still has to be ratified by the people in a referendum, but one assumes that having actually signed it, tis a bit tricky to get out.

As to smacking:
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3972453.stm
damn, I can't find the "have your say" link...

Most of us seem to be against banning it, which strikes me as only sensible, whereas actually beating the shit out of a child seems like a bad thing to me!

/Phil

(Edited for typo's)
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