Plans for a bill to completely ban smacking of children has received more than 300 submissions.

Those in favour of extending the current law to rule out physical punishment by removing the “reasonable chastisement” defence, include the Children’s Commissioner, NHS Greater Glasgow, and the Church of Scotland.

Other religious groups and many individuals want parents to have the choice.

A total of 318 written submissions have been received by the Equalities Committee at Holyrood, which is scrutinising the Bill by Green MSP John Finnie.

Bruce Adamson, children’s Commissioner, said: “Assaulting a child for the purpose of punishment is a breach of their human rights and can never be justified.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “The evidence could not be clearer that the use of physical pain to discipline children is harmful, is associated with levels of violence in society. Physical punishment of children is strongly associated with aggression and anti-social behaviour in childhood and aggression, sexual violence, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood.”

The Church of Scotland said a change would give children the same legal protection as adults.

It stated: “It runs counter to the example that Jesus himself set, and the principles set out in the Gospel.”

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Barnardos, the Children’s Reporter, the Care Inspectorate and various health organisations agreed that the ban should be strengthened.

Other religious groups were opposed arguing parents should have the right.

Christian Action Research and Education CARE, which represents several religious groups is opposed and said it is “The state overreaching itself”.

It added the state would be “inappropriately interfering in family life, it also creates a criminal offence which will result in many ordinary loving parents obtaining a criminal record.”

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland said “controlled, restrained smacking” is legitimate for “maintaining discipline within the home.”

The Free Church of Scotland said mild smacking for discipline “out of love” is a “means given to parents by god and the state has no right to remove it”.

The Christian institute said: “The overwhelming majority of people know there is a vast difference between child abuse and smacking.”