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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 20:10 GMT
PM admits smacking his children
Tony Blair
Mr Blair was questioned by disgruntled Swindon residents
Prime Minister Tony Blair has revealed he smacked his older children, in an interview with BBC Two's Newsnight.

Mr Blair hesitated when he was asked if he smacked his children, and presenter Kirsty Wark then asked if he smacked his youngest child and not the eldest.

Mr Blair, who has four children aged between five and 22, replied: "No, no. It was actually the other way round."

The Labour government introduced a partial ban on smacking children in 2005, rejecting calls for a full ban.

The Newsnight interview included questions from an audience of people from Swindon who had experienced anti-social behaviour.

I'm probably different with my youngest than I was with my older ones
Tony Blair

Ms Wark initially asked the prime minister: "Do you smack your kids? Did you?".

Before she received a reply, she added: "Did it cause a problem?"

Mr Blair replied: "No, I think actually, funnily enough, I'm probably different with my youngest than I was with my older ones."

Misunderstanding his reply, Ms Wark asked him: "What, you do smack the younger one?"

The prime minister said: "No, no. It was actually the other way round, but... I think, look, this smacking... I mean, I agree with what you just said, I think everybody actually knows the difference between smacking a kid and abusing a child."

Mr Blair went on to say he believed the real problem was with "really, really difficult families".

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