A London council which outlawed advocates for unborn children from standing outside an abortion centre has been handed a national recognition award by the Labour Party.
Pro-lifers responded with dismay in April when Ealing Council passed the ban. Free speech campaigners have also criticised it.
But at Labour’s Party Conference this week Jeremy Corbyn presented the National Best Practice Award to the Council for its action.
In thanking the Labour leader, Ealing called on the Government to introduce ‘buffer zones’ nationwide.
The Labour stronghold – 57 of 69 councillors are from the Party – also repeated its claim that the “anti-choice activists” were standing outside the Marie Stopes centre “in order to target and intimidate vulnerable women”.
However, a Government investigation found that across the country nearly all pro-life activities in such areas merely involve “praying, displaying banners and handing out leaflets”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has refused to introduce national buffer zones, saying it “would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics”.
“In this country, it is a long-standing tradition that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views. This is something to be rightly proud of”.
In May, a letter signed by free speech groups including Index on Censorship said Ealing’s ban was “so widely drawn as to impose potentially unlawful restrictions on the rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression”.