Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 9.44.38 AMThe Government was on Thursday night urged to open an inquiry after officials found signs that birth rates for girls and boys vary noticeably according to where their mothers were born.

A health minister said that these differences in rates of male and female births among mothers of certain nationalities may “fall outside the range considered possible without intervention”.

It forms the first official statistical evidence potentially backing up concerns that sex-selection abortions are being carried out in Britain.

Andrew Lansley, the former health secretary, last year criticised the “illegal and morally wrong” practice following a Daily Telegraph investigation into the issue.

After this newspaper received information that the procedures were becoming increasingly common for cultural and social reasons, undercover reporters filmed doctors offering women terminations based on gender.