MINISTERS have refused to reconsider plans to allow childminders to smack children with their parents' consent. An education select committee report recommends that the practice should be banned. Education minister Margaret Hodge said such decisions should be left to parents. he told the House of Commons: "The issue is not whether a parent or childminder should be permitted to smack; it is whether the matter should be determined by the state. Parents' rights take pre-cedence over those of other people - including Members of Parliament."