Italy's foreign and interior ministers said they hope he can now be transferred to the country 'immediately'

Italy’s Foreign and Interior ministers have granted Alfie Evans Italian citizenship. In a statement on the Foreign Ministry website, the ministers said they hoped this would allow the “immediate transfer” of the seriously ill infant to the country.

The act came as supporters tried to storm Alder Hey hospital, which is treating Alfie, in protest at the decision to withdraw life support from the 23-month-old child.

The protesters had broken away from a larger group of around 200 supporters who had gathered outside the hospital in Liverpool.

Earlier, the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in the case after failing to persuade the UK Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

Last week, Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, met Pope Francis and asked him to grant “asylum” to Alfie.

“If your holiness helps our child you will be potentially saving the future for our children in the UK, especially the disabled,” he said.

The Pope said the Vatican’s Secretariat of State would ensure a “decisive diplomatic channel is opened up for Alfie” so that “the dignity of his life is respected”.

Rome’s Bambino Gesù hospital has offered to treat the infant.