15 December 2017

Grace & Truth


Parents in Scotland should be prosecuted for smacking their children, a coalition of children’s charities has said. Smacking is currently legal in Scotland, but the use of implements, shaking or blows to the head are outlawed. The Children are Unbeatable alliance want ministers to include a ban on smacking in new legislation for young people.

But the Scottish Parent Teacher Council said: “it is not about whether or not you should be able to smack your child – this is about whether or not you should have a law against it.”

The Scottish Government is currently holding a consultation on proposals for the Children and Young Peoples Bill.

A government spokesman said: “we have no plans to change the law on smacking. It is already illegal to punish children by shaking or hitting them with an implement and there are no proposals in the consultation to change this.”

Alison Todd, of Children are Unbeatable, said: “this is not about political correctness. This is about children and young people suffering violence in our country and we need to do something that tightens it up so that it can’t happen.”


Over 100 babies in the UK conceived through fertility treatment have been aborted because they had Down’s syndrome. Between 2005 and 2009, 123 babies conceived with the assistance of IVF-type treatments were aborted because of the condition.

In 2009 a total of 127 abortions were performed on women who conceived with the assistance of fertility treatment. According to data from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, Down’s syndrome was the most commonly cited reason, occurring in 31 of the 127 cases.

Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “it is generally accepted that there is a significant under-reporting of abortions of babies with Down’s syndrome, but I think we are especially saddened when we read of such abortions in association with IVF, where the women involved were clearly originally desperate to have a child.”

The actual number of terminations performed because of Down’s syndrome could be higher as it is not mandatory for reasons for abortions to be recorded.


Doctors at 14 NHS hospitals in the UK have been systematically breaking the law by pre-signing abortion consent forms, an investigation by the health watchdog has found.

Under the current law in England, two doctors must sign a referral form before a woman can go ahead with an abortion. But an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) discovered hospitals using pre-signed forms, or forms on which the approval signatures had been photocopied, thereby allowing the second doctor to make the decision on their own.

The CQC carried out a series of unannounced inspections earlier this year and says it found “clear evidence” that consent forms were being pre-signed.

One of the hospitals, the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, was found using a box of forms which were signed by a doctor who no longer worked there.

“This demonstrated evidence of a doctor either providing to others or knowingly allowing others, to use forms signed in advance by them or photocopied with their signature”, the inspectors said.

The CQC also found irregularities with the consistency and completeness of consent forms at a number of other locations where no evidence of “pre-signing” was found.

The health watchdog has ordered the hospitals concerned to stop using pre-signed forms. The information has now been passed to the General Medical Council and the police, who will decide whether further action will be taken. The inspections were launched after Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, asked the CQC to investigate whether the pre-signing of forms was commonplace.


The Prime Minister David Cameron has lashed out at churches for “locking out” gays by supporting marriage between one man and one woman. He said he was proud to follow in the tradition of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who introduced civil partnerships in 2005. And he repeated his commitment to redefine marriage by 2015, regardless of what the public or his own backbenchers think about it.

He made the remarks at a party for homosexual activists hosted at Downing Street. He praised Tony Blair for introducing civil partnerships, then said: “I just want to say I am absolutely determined that this Coalition government will follow in that tradition by legislating for gay marriage in this Parliament.”

He also said that the Church is on the wrong side of the argument and should not “be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender.”

But The Christian Institute said Mr Cameron was displaying his own intolerance and prejudice against Christians who oppose homosexual marriage. Spokesman Mike Judge said: “it is incredibly arrogant of him to tell churches what religious beliefs they should and shouldn’t hold. No wonder huge swathes of churchgoers are suspicious of his motives.” He added: “as for following in the tradition of Tony Blair, the Labour Prime Minister passed laws which closed down religious-based adoption work, led to Christian registrars being sacked, and Christian B&Bs being fined. Is that the tradition that Mr Cameron so proudly wants to follow? He’s going the right way about it, because redefining marriage would put supporters of traditional marriage right in the firing line.”

Callum Webster