CROSS-party support for plans to enforce buffer zones around abortion clinics was warmly welcomed by Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq.

Ms Huq has long campaigned for th zones to protect clinic users from intimidation and harassment, like the one enforced outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Mattock Lane, Ealing.

She was among 297 MPs backing an amendment to the Public Order Bill on Friday (21). There were 110 votes against.

Under the proposed law, harassing, obstructing or interfering with any woman attending an abortion clinic will become a criminal offence.

Protesters found guilty of breaching the buffer zones – which would extend 150 metres from the clinics – could face up to six months in jail.

The Ealing MP said: “For me, this was an emotional moment as this issue has been close to my heart as a very “Ealing” issue.”

She added she had witnessed the protesters at Mattock Lane who blocked the pavement.

Ms Hug continued: “I’ve spoken countless times on this issue in Parliament and across the media. I’m grateful to my colleagues for backing this legislation.”

Anti-abortion protests outside clinics in recent years have included displaying graphic images of foetuses, filming women and staff members and large gatherings singing hymns.

 “Many MPs came up to hug and congratulate me yesterday in the aftermath of the vote,” she added.

“What began in Ealing now leads the nation.”

Ealing Council established the country’s first buffer zone, around the Marie Stopes clinic in Mattock Lane, in 2018. Other councils have subsequently proposed similar schemes.