Britain mulling ban on spanking, October 7, 2008

A bill that would ban British parents from spanking their children is now before Parliament.

More than 100 Labor members of Parliament have asked the government for a free vote on the issue, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. Supporters of the change say more than half the group have said they will vote their conscience no matter what the party decides.

Most countries in the European Union now ban physical punishment of children. Four, including Britain, do not.

The current law allows parents to use "reasonable" physical punishment that does not mark or injure children.

The change has been sponsored by a multiparty group led by Kevin Barron, a Labor member of Parliament and chairman of the Commons Health Committee. "The current law allowing so-called 'reasonable punishment' of children is unjust, unsafe and unclear, and must be abolished once and for all," Barron said.

Parliament last voted on the issue in 2004.

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