An early day motion has been tabled by a group of MPs calling on firms to avoid buying natural sandstone that has been produced using child labour

The motion was put forward by Labour MP Jim Sheridan and has been signed by 56 MPs, including ethical construction campaigner Michael Clapham.

The motion claims there has been a marked increase in the import of natural stone into the UK, much of which comes from India, where campaigners say quarrying and production processes often involve the use of child labour.

About 250,000 tonnes of sandstone is shipped from Rajasthan in northern India to the UK each year, and Anti-Slavery International has estimated that up to a million children work in India’s stone quarries.

Julia Hawkins of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which has approved seven stone importing companies, including building supplier Marshalls, said the motion showed the construction sector was starting to play catch-up with the food and fashion industries.

“When people became aware that child labour was involved in the production of their clothes, there was an outcry. They need to learn that the same could be happening in the production of their driveways, patios or pavements.”