Children will be barred from starting school unless they have had the MMR vaccination, under proposals being considered by the Labour Party.

Mary Creagh MP, who is in charge of the party's health manifesto for the next election, has proposed the dramatic policy in an attempt to increase protection from childhood diseases. Primary schools would be required to demand proof that pupils have had the full range of jabs – including those for measles, mumps and rubella – before letting them register.

The suggestion is modelled on the US system, where parents are threatened with jail if children are not immunised.

But it has provoked outrage from doctors' leaders. Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA, said forcing parents to do this was "morally and ethically dubious", going "beyond the nanny state to a police state".