It is in the best interests of seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans for his life support to be switched off, a judge has said.

Mr Justice Hayden set a date for the 23-month-old boy to be allowed to die during a hearing in London on Wednesday, two months after he ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating him.

That decision came against the wishes of Alfie’s parents, whose lawyer said they believed their son had shown signs of “cognitive improvement” since the February ruling.

:: Pope voices support for ill toddler Alfie Evans

Image: Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of 21-month-old Alfie

Father Tom Evans wanted a “fresh assessment” of his son’s future, but Mr Justice Hayden said the follow-up hearing had only been staged so that he could help the parents and doctors decide exactly when the treatment should stop.

He told Mr Evans and partner Kate James that while it was a “profoundly unfair” case, “no further application” was possible and that it was in Alfie’s best interests for his life support to be withdrawn.

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The date for when it will be switched off will not be made public, he added.

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