A SOUTH Essex MP has labelled a proposed ban on parents smacking their children as “political correctness overriding common sense”.

Bob Spink, UKIP MP for Castle Point, spoke out after a cross-party group put forward changes to a Gover-nment Bill which would remove the rights of parents to carry out reasonable punishment.

Mr Spink dismissed calls for a law change and insisted parents should be allowed to discipline their children.

He added: “I think it is political correctness overriding common sense.

“Of course, parents shouldn’t abuse their children physically, or in any other way, but this is an inappropriate measure to be taking.

“There are many more important things which should be discussed in the House of Commons.

“Parents should be able to discipline their children. Evidence shows children who are disciplined in a caring way are more socially responsible.”

Labour MP Kevin Barron, who is behind the call to outlaw smacking, said: “We must act now to end the legal approval of hitting children.

“It is the responsibility of Parliament to ensure the physical integrity and human dignity of every person is respected.

“The current law allowing so-called reasonable punishment of children is unjust, unsafe and unclear, and must be abolished once and for all.”

The issue was last voted on by the Commons in 2004.

NSPCC head of policy and public affairs Diana Sutton backed the call to stop parents smacking their children.

She said: “Smacking children is outdated and doesn't work.

“It’s no longer an acceptable means of discipline.

“It is a national embarrassment. The UK is one of only five remaining EU countries not to have banned, or committed themselves to banning, the physical punishment of children.

“Public opinion has turned against smacking.

“It’s time politicians listened to the mood of the country and finally make this cruel and antiquated method of punishment illegal.”