Bishop of Paisley John Keenan has attacked the BBC for "pro-abortion bias" over a news story published on the corporation's website.

A report on the BBC's website on Monday covered the hostile reaction from some quarters to the appointment of Conservative MP Maria Caulfield as the party's vice chair for women.

However Bishop Keenan said the article was an example of "yet more pro-abortion bias from the BBC" and quoted too many "pro-abortionists".

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His comments, reported in the Scottish Catholic Observer, included the claim that the corporation "seems to think it is disappointing that any woman politician should have such anxiety for the plight of unborn human beings—and for society—at the horrific proposals pro-abortionists are now seriously peddling."

He added: "Let me try to provide some balance in the interest of public service. Those pushing for the decriminalisation of abortion are pressing for the right to abort babies up to birth for any reason whatsoever—can you believe!”

“The present law at least puts some kind of limit on late abortions and, at least in theory, reminds society of the seriousness of taking an innocent human life.”

Reporting on the appointment of Lewes MP Ms Caulfield to the senior party post, the BBC had quoted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, who criticised the appointment because she has opposed the decriminalisation of abortion.

Meanwhile Sophie Walker, Women’s Equality Party leader, said Ms Caulfield could ‘never advocate effectively’ for women.

Bishop Keenan added: "In fact it is Maria Caulfield who represents the views of most UK women. 72 per cent of women want abortion to be governed by a legal framework and only one per cent of women supported the abortion limit being raised according to a recent poll," he said. "I know a few excellent BBC journalists but this just lets us all down."

Ms Caulfield said: “I did oppose decriminalisation of abortion because I don’t believe we should be having abortions up to term. I think the 24-week limit could do with reducing with medical advances.

"The current law is a safeguard because it protects vulnerable women who might be pressurised by an abusive partner or family member to have an abortion."

Nobody from the BBC was available to comment. However Stephen Evans, Chief Executive Officer at the National Secular Society said Bishop Keenan's accusation was "way off the mark".

"the BBC is well known for its overly deferential approach to religion," he said. "“Media reports have simply reflected widespread concern that a politician appointed to advocate for women's rights appears to make decisions based on her own religious beliefs rather an evidential and objective basis.

"I suspect the bishop’s real vexation is that Catholic teaching is out of touch with both mainstream opinion and Catholic opinion on abortion. Most people, irrespective of their faith outlook, now support a woman’s right to follow her conscience in matters of reproductive health.”