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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. MSPs pass the smacking ban bill

    Greens

    MSPs passed the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill, on Thursday 3 October 2019.

    It will make it a criminal offence for parents to smack their children.

    Parents and carers are currently allowed to use "reasonable" physical force to discipline children.

    The ban on all physical chastisement was overwhelmingly backed by MSPs, with 84 MSPS backing it and 29 against.

  2. BreakingMSPs pass the smacking ban bill

    Clapping

    MSPs vote to pass the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.

    It will make it a criminal offence for parents to smack their children.

    Parents and carers are currently allowed to use "reasonable" physical force to discipline children.

    The ban on all physical chastisement is overwhelmingly backed by MSPs, with 84 MSPS backing it and 29 against.

    Kid against smacking
  3. No such thing as a reasonable level of violence - Green MSP

    Green MSP John Finnie

    Green MSP John Finnie says there is no such thing as a reasonable level of violence, referring to the defence of reasonable chastisement.

    Children are rights holders and this is the place where these rights must be guaranteed, he tells the chamber.

    This bill is not a critique of how our parents brought us up or how we bought out children up, he states.

    Mr Finnie says this bill will protect and nurture.

  4. This bill will not criminalise loving parents - minister

    Maree Todd begins by saying restraint to safeguard a child is not affected by the bill.

    The children and young people minister adds self-defence will remain as a potential defence also.

    She argues it will not be the case that this bill will criminalise loving parents, as evinced by international evidence.

    Children and Young People Minister Maree Todd
    Image caption: Children and Young People Minister Maree Todd

    The minister tells the chamber the government will promote awareness and understanding of the removal of "reasonable chastisement".

    Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne asks if £20,000 will be enough to do this, to which Ms Todd replies "absolutely".

    The minister says she looks forward to voting for this bill and providing children with equal protection from assault.

  5. 'This legislation has so many faults that it is not acceptable'

    Tory MSP Liz Smith

    Tory MSP Liz Smith says legislation must be clear and uncomplicated, be acceptable to the public, maximise public good, and be easily enforceable.

    The Scottish Conservatives have never taken issue with the aim behind the bill and in fact some of my colleagues would have supported ending physical punishment of children, she reveals.

    But this legislation is not good legislation, she adds.

    Ms Smith says the bill contains a small risk that parents could be criminalised.

    "This legislation has so many faults that it is not acceptable."

  6. 'Children should have the same protection from assault as adults do'

    Labour MSP Iain Gray
    Image caption: Labour MSP Iain Gray

    Iain Gray, in closing for Labour, praises John Finnie for his great effort in getting his bill to this stage.

    He fully believes that the defence of "reasonable chastisement" will be done away with shortly.

    The Labour MSP says: "Children should have the same protection from assault as adults do."

    He argues we will end "reasonable chastisement" tonight as we should have done 20 years ago, but while child poverty remains "we shouldn't pat ourselves on the back too hard".

  7. Background: Scotland to be first UK country to ban smacking

    Girl being smacking
    Image caption: The change to the law will make it a criminal offence for parents to smack their child on the bottom

    Scotland is to become the first country in the UK to make it a criminal offence for parents to smack their children.

    Parents and carers are currently allowed to use "reasonable" physical force to discipline children.

    But the Scottish government has backed moves to give children the same protection from assault as adults.

    Sweden became the first country in the world to ban smacking in the home when it outlawed corporal punishment in 1979 - with Scotland set to become the 58th to do so.

    Read more.

  8. 'Scotland joins a family of more enlightened nations'

    Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
    Image caption: Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton

    Alex Cole-Hamilton begins: "This is a proud and emotional day for me."

    The Lib Dem MSP thanks John Finnie and argues the current legal defence once allowed men to hit their wives and their servants.

    He points to the fundamental disparity between the treatment of adults and children under the current defence.

    "Today, presiding officer, Scotland joins a family of more enlightened nations," he says.

  9. 'Any assault is assault'

    Labour MSP Mary Fee

    Labour MSP Mary Fee says this bill is an important step forward in children's rights.

    It is not about criminalising parents and carers, but giving children the same protection as parents Ms Fee adds.

    Any assault is assault and it cannot be justified by saying it was reasonable, she insists.

    The Labour MSP says the key point of the bill is to promote a cultural change, highlighting its equivalent in Ireland has not seen an increase in parents being criminalised.

    There needs to be a coordinated campaign message to ensure parents, caregivers, teachers and social workers are aware of the change she adds.

  10. Background: How widespread is smacking anyway?

    Backers of the bill rallied outside Holyrood on the morning of the vote
    Image caption: Backers of the bill rallied outside Holyrood on the morning of the vote

    A report published by a group of Scottish children's charities in 2015 found that the physical punishment of children was more common in the UK than in similar countries such as the US, Canada, Italy, Germany and Sweden.

    The researchers estimated that between 70% and 80% of parents in the UK have used physical punishment, with children aged between three and seven the most likely to be smacked.

    They also found that many parents do not view smacking as a "good thing", but believe that sometimes it is the "only thing that will work".

  11. 'I don't think this bill is acceptable'

    Tory MSP Oliver Mundell

    Tory MSP Oliver Mundell begins: "I believe violence against children is wrong."

    However this bill is imprecise and sub-optimal, Mr Mundell says, and he argues it could unnecessarily drag good parents into the justice system.

    He argues parliamentarians should have put who will be caught within the gambit of criminal law on the face of primary legislation.

    "I don't think this bill is acceptable."