Boris hints at government support over smacking

Written by UPDATE: on 30 January 2012 in Diary
Diary
The Mayor of London has come out in favour of parents' rights to smack children and hinted that the idea has the education secretary's support as well

Yesterday, Boris Johnson was the latest politician to back a review of the smacking ban.

Although the Mayor of London did not go as far as Labour MP David Lammy in suggesting that the partial ban on smacking was a cause for last August's riots, he did hint that there was support for the idea within government.

One line in the Daily Mail this morning is worthy of note: "The Mayor said he believed that he had the support of education secretary Michael Gove."

If true, perhaps the smacking ban will be in the headlines again soon. Gove has been known to take a tough stance on such matters – he recently announced new powers for teachers to improve discipline in schools.

Speaking last night on Pienaar's Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live, Boris Johnson added: "People do feel anxious about imposing discipline on their children, whether the law will support them.

"I think there ought to be some confirmation that the benefit of the doubt will always be given to parents in these matters and they should be seen as the natural figures of authority in this respect.

"Obviously you don't want to have a licence for physical abuse or for violence and that's very important.

"I know that people will have their own views, but let me just say on the issue that's been raised a lot of times with me; the issue of are you allowed to chastise, are you allowed to impose discipline."

You can listen to the Mayor's full interview here.

Over at Liberal Conspiracy, Ellie Cumbo says that Lammy has misunderstood the terms of the 'smacking ban'. She suggest: "What the Children Act 2004 actually did was to outlaw punishment that causes Actual Bodily Harm: serious injury that is 'more than transient or trifling'; examples include grazes, cuts, bruises and black eyes. To be clear, a restoration of the previous law would mean adults could mete out injuries like this to children in their care with near-impunity." You can read her full piece here.

 

Tags: Boris Johnson, David Lammy, Michael Gove, Smacking ban

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