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Parents must have right to smack children: UK MP

Parental authority had been undermined in UK by years of legislation including confusion over smacking children.

London: With riots proving a breakdown of discipline, a senior British MP appealed to the Prime
Minister to remove "state interference" in maintaining family order, upholding the right of parents to smack their children.

John Hemming, a liberal Democrat MP said, parental authority had been undermined by years of legislation including confusion over smacking children.

With riots proving discipline had broken down, he said it was time for the Government to hand back power to parents, a newspaper reported.

"The inquiry into the riots must look at the way in which the state undermines parental discipline. Smacking children rarely does any long-term harm but allowing children to grow up in an undisciplined manner is damaging for the child and society as a whole," he said.

"Children have been placed on the child protection register for being smacked. This undermines discipline," he added.

Hemming said, the inquiry should also examine, why children in local authority care were "10 times" more likely to have been involved in riots than those cared for by their parents.

"It does raise questions as to whether social workers take a lax approach to the involvement of the children in their care in criminal activities," he added.