Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has been granted Italian citizenship as his family continues to fight against the withdrawal of his life support.

The 23-month-old was granted citizenship by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on  Monday.

Parents Tom Evans and Kate James, both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, hope to take their son to a hospital in Rome for treatment.

Alfie's parents Tom Evans and Kate James have been fighting for the right to continue life support treatment (Philip Toscano/PA)Alfie’s parents Tom Evans and Kate James have been fighting for the right to continue life support treatment (Philip Toscano/PA)

The couple have already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECHR.

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, Mr Evans said: “I’m stood here now and Alfie is still here.

“Why? Because I’m still fighting for him, I’m still fighting and so is Alfie.

Alfie Evans Alfie Evans (Alfies Army/Facebook)

“I have been in touch with the Ambassador of Italy.

“My son belongs to Italy. I love Alfie and I love Kate, I will not give up.”

Pavel Stroilov, from the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing the family, said: “Italy has just granted citizenship to Alfie and the Italian ambassador has urgently contacted the court with a request for the Italian government to be allowed to intervene in the case and seek the return of their citizen Alfie Evans to Italy.”

The Pope waded into the controversy offering his backing to Alfie’s parents in their battle for treatment for their son.

“I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” Pope Francis said in a tweet.

A source close to the Evans family claimed Mr Justice Hayden, who originally ordered life-support be withdrawn, would hold an urgent telephone conference with Italian legal representatives on Monday evening to discuss Alfie’s plight.

Earlier on Monday, supporters of the family attempted to storm Alder Hey Children’s Hospital after European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judges refused to intervene in the case.

They had broken away from a larger group of about 200 protesters, some who earlier blocked the road outside the children’s hospital.

As they ran towards the main doors a squad of police officers scrambled to block their way, forming a line to repel the intruders.After a tense stand-off the crowd re-joined other protesters further from the hospital.

Protesters gather outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)Protesters gather outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police remained outside the entrances to the children’s hospital throughout the day.

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

He said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions. Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges refused to intervene.

The couple argued Alfie was being wrongly “detained” at Alder Hey and made a habeas corpus application, which was dismissed by Mr Justice Hayden.

Appeal judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden’s decision and on Friday Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie’s life to an end.