Bishop Philip Egan has urged Catholics to pray for the conversion of Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs after they signed a letter demanding a ban on prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.

A total of 113 MPs signed the letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, which was published on the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act. It accused pro-lifers of harassing women outside abortion clinics – an accusation that vigil organisers strongly deny.

Among the signatories of the letter were Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable.

Bishop Philip Egan wrote on Twitter: “It’s folly that Jeremy Corbyn and MPs want to restrict freedom of speech/prayer outside abortion clinics. Let’s pray for their conversion.”

Rudd had told the House of Commons earlier that week that she will look at the evidence and consider whether a ban is necessary. “It is imperative that women have access to safe and legal abortion,” she said.

“Although we of course agree that public protest must be allowed, it must not in any way be allowed to intimidate women on the way to receiving the health services they want.”

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