‘Have to trust parents’ Education Secretary rejects calls for ban on smacking children

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Nadhim Zahawi rejected a call from the Children’s Commissioner for a ban on smacking in England. Dame Rachel de Souza had earlier said she would be “supportive” if the Government decided to follow Scotland and Wales in banning the physical punishment of children.

But Mr Zahawi said he did not believe the state should be “nannying” parents.

The minister told Times Radio: “My very strong view is that actually we have got to trust parents on this, and parents being able to discipline their children is something that they should be entitled to do.

“We have got to just make sure we don’t end up in a world where the state is nannying people about how they bring up their children.”

Wales last month made any type of corporal punishment – including smacking, hitting, slapping and shaking – illegal in the country. Scotland introduced a similar ban in November 2020.

Although Dame Rachel acknowledged that “protections” for children are already “enshrined in law” in England, she expressed admiration for the actions of the Scottish and Welsh governments.

She added: “It’s certainly something that I think we should consider.”

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