Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has defended parents' right to smack their children and admitted he did it to his own, it has emerged.
The Tory cabinet minister said he was not opposed to smacking youngsters, claiming sometimes it "sends a message".
Mr Grayling has two children, aged 20 and 16, with his wife Susan and told the Mail on Sunday he occasionally smacked them when they were younger.
"You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me," he said. "I'm not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally. Sometimes it sends a message - but I don't hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school."
Sources close to the minister said tonight he used the punishment on an "occasional" basis and only when "really warranted".
More top news
Police are issuing appeals for a gang who attacked two men after luring them into meeting with what they thought were underage girls.
Aston Villa came from behind to shock Liverpool at Wembley and book their place in the FA Cup final against Arsenal next month
The film appears to show the executions of Ethiopian Christians on the beach in Libya. It has not been verified.