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LAWMAKERS REJECT BAN ON SPANKING BY PARENTS

After a passionate debate in the House of Commons, British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against banning parents from spanking their children.

Some lawmakers argued that even mild spanking should be outlawed and insisted that children should have the same legal protection as adults when it comes to being hit.

But Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has shied away from an outright ban, fearing that it would be accused of intruding into family affairs. Instead, ministers urged lawmakers to back legislation that would allow mild smacking but make it easier to prosecute parents who harm a child physically or mentally.

Lawmakers voted, 424-75, against the ban. They will vote later on the government proposal.

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