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MPs call for ban on prayer vigils outside abortion clinics

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Dozens of MPs have renewed demands for the British government to impose exclusion zones around abortion clinics.

The group, led by Labour MP Rupa Huq, has accused Home Secretary Sajid Javid of failing to continue a review started by his predecessor Amber Rudd into whether to ban prayer vigils outside clinics across Britain.

Huq also expressed frustration that Javid had not replied to letter sent to him three weeks ago. The letter, signed by 150 MPs including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, called on him to “move forward with finding a solution” on the issue.

The move comes a month after Ealing Council became the first in the UK to impose a so-called “buffer zone” around an abortion clinic, banning pro-lifers from praying and handing out leaflets outside the Marie Stopes centre.

However, a group of mothers who were helped by the pro-life vigil are challenging the policy at the High Court. The court is due to hear the case on Thursday next week.

Other councils, including Manchester, Leeds and Portsmouth, have passed motions in support of setting up “buffer zones” and will likely implement them if the Ealing decision is upheld.

However, abortion lobbyists want the government to impose exclusion zones at every clinic across the country, effectively banning all pro-life activity around them.

The Home Office told the Guardian it was “committed to the in-depth assessment of protests outside abortion clinics”. Work was “continuing,” it added.