The council will begin an eight-week consultation on the proposal later this month

Ealing Council has moved a step closer to banning prayer vigils outside abortion clinics after voting to open a public consultation on the move.

The council agreed the consultation on imposing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) after abortion lobbyists accused pro-lifers of “harassing” women outside an abortion clinic in the London borough.

Julian Bell, the council’s Labour leader, said the council was committed to ending the intimidation and harassment faced by those seeking legally available medical support” and called for a “national solution” to the alleged problem.

Abortion lobbyists accuse pro-lifers of intimidating and harassing women entering abortion clinics, however hard evidence is scarce.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has already ordered a review into supposed harassment and intimidation outside abortion clinics to consider what action the government will take.

Speaking before Ealing Council’s decision, Antonia Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: “Peaceful, prayerful pro-life vigils must continue to offer help to desperate women.

“Many women are ambivalent about abortion or pressured into one, and the presence of groups such as the Good Counsel Network offers a lifeline to such women.”

The consultation will run for eight weeks starting 29 January.