The doctor at the centre of the MMR row has been struck off the medical register.

Andrew Wakefield was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC) at a hearing in central London.

He acted in a way that was “dishonest”, “misleading” and “irresponsible” while carrying out research into a possible link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, bowel disease and autism, the GMC said.

Furthermore, he “abused his position of trust” and “brought the medical profession into disrepute” in studies he carried out on children.

The GMC said there had been “multiple separate instances of serious professional misconduct”.

The GMC described how Dr Wakefield took blood from his son’s friends at a birthday party, paying the youngsters £5 each, before joking about it during a US presentation in March 1999.

Panel chairman Dr Surendra Kumar said: “In causing blood samples to be taken from children at a birthday party, he callously disregarded the pain and distress young children might suffer and behaved in a way which brought the profession into disrepute.”

The GMC hearing, which lasted 217 days and heard from 36 witnesses, is the longest in the GMC’s history.

It has reportedly cost in excess of £1m.