The Scottish Parliament has passed the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill by 84 votes to 29.

Be Reasonable, which spearheaded the campaign in defence of the existing law, responded to the result:

“It’s disappointing that MSPs have ignored overwhelming public opinion and the numerous unanswered questions about this reckless policy. Sadly, it will be decent families who will pay the price for all this virtue signalling. In the months to come our campaign will be re-doubling its efforts, highlighting the damaging effects of this new legislation as it rolls out, and standing up for good parents everywhere.

“The existing law protects children. It outlaws violence and abuse. The reasonable chastisement defence simply allows parents to use an occasional tap on the hand or smack on the bottom. If it is removed then, by definition, reasonable behaviour will be criminalised. Parents will be at risk of police investigation, prosecution, conviction – for giving their toddler a mild smack. Campaigners deny they are criminalising parents but civil servants are drawing up a prosecution policy. You don’t need a prosecution policy if you’re not criminalising anything.

“And even where there’s no prosecution, social services will be brought in. Parents who work with children may lose their jobs.

“An officer with 29 years’ experience told the Scottish Parliament: ‘I have never come across a case where I have felt the law as it stands is inadequate for any investigation into child abuse. Conversations with similarly experienced detectives suggests this is a universal view. I have found no appetite amongst my operational colleagues for any legislative changes.’

“But virtue-signalling politicians want to push ahead anyway. In five years we’ll have so many cases of good families being wrecked by the ban that politicians will be debating overturning it.”