Previous Labour leaders treated abortion as a matter of conscience and allowed free votes but Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto turns it into a party issue for the first time and Labour MPs will be whipped during votes.

After two days of debating in Leeds Catholic bishops called on voters to back candidates who would defend ‘the child in the womb’.

They also called for ‘the cherishing of marriage’ against a background of pledges from Labour and the Lib Dems to introduce a radical no-fault divorce law.