The British parliament has overwhelmingly agreed to outlaw caning in all schools. MPs voted 211 to 15 in favour of an amendment to the School Standards and Framework Bill that bans all corporal punishment and brings independent schools into line with the state sector and the rest of Europe.
Introducing the change, Liberal Democrat education spokesman Don Foster said:
"It is my clear view that corporal punishment is something that is wrong in principle — it is barbaric and it is inhuman. It is also something that is wrong in practice."
Until now, Britain was unique in Europe because it retained corporal punishment in some schools.
Corporal punishment was outlawed in state schools in 1986, but remained legal in independent schools.
Mr Foster's plea to MPs to support his amendment during the school standards Bill's detailed report stage was greeted with loud cheers from Labour MPs but shouts of disapproval from the few Tories on the Opposition benches.
He insisted he saw no reason to keep caning legal in schools.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that the use of corporal punishment is an effective deterrent, either for a child who may have been misbehaving nor indeed is it a deterrent for other children."
BBC correspondents say so few private schools still use physical punishment that the impact of the ban will be mostly symbolic.
N.B. See Protest