100 Members of Parliament have signed Early Day Motion (EDM) 230 which calls for a debate on assisted dying. The EDM expresses concern about the choices that some terminally ill adults are being forced to make due to a lack of safeguarded assisted dying legislation in the UK. This call for a debate comes at a time where the Government are modernising the law on assisted suicide via the Coroners and Justice Bill.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying says:
“This level of support for a debate is very encouraging. These 100 MPs agree that there is a problem with the current law, which forces terminally ill adults to travel abroad to die, to ask loved ones or doctors to risk their liberty and help them to die, or to attempt to take their own lives. This is a problem that needs addressing with urgency before any more terminally ill adults have to take these desperate decisions – just last week a new case emerge of Peter and Penelope Duff who both had terminal cancer and travelled to Switzerland in order to end their suffering.
“MPs will have the opportunity to debate this issue during the Report stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill on 23rd and 24th March, and Peers will have the same opportunity after the Easter break. The Coroners and Justice Bill aims to modernise the 1961 Suicide Act but crucially fails to make the distinction between maliciously encouraging a suicide and compassionately assisting a terminally ill person who wants to die. I hope MPs will have the courage to address this issue fully.”
Notes to editor:
EDM 230 wording:
That this House expresses concern that some terminally ill adults end their suffering by travelling abroad to die, committing suicide, asking a loved one for assistance to die, or are illegally assisted to die by their doctor; notes that the Suicide Act 1961 aims to protect vulnerable people by prohibiting complicity in suicide; welcomes the Government’s plans to modernise the law via the Coroners and Justice Bill to make it explicitly clear that this prohibition applies to the internet; further notes that there are concerns that the Suicide Act 1961 is not fit for purpose; and calls for a full debate on whether the law should be updated sufficiently to protect vulnerable people whilst distinguishing between assisting suicide and assisting the death of a mentally competent terminally ill adult.
Signatories (in order of signing):
David Winnick, Evan Harris, Crispin Blunt, Chris McCafferty, James Plaskitt, Ann Cryer, Paul Holmes, Paul Flynn, Alan Simpson, Lynne Jones, Andrew Dismore, Jim Devine, Neil Gerrard, Ian Gibson, Eric Illsley, Frank Cook, John Leech, Kelvin Hopkins, Paul Keetch, David Howarth, Mark Oaten, Martyn Jones, Stephen Dorrell, Lorely Burt, Paul Rowen, Robert Marshall-Andrews, Rudi Vis, Mark Hunter, Chris Mullin, Peter Kilfoyle, David Laws, Richard Caborn, Diane Abbott, Jenny Willot, Menzies Campbell, Roger Berry, Gerald Kaufman, Michael Mates, Alan Meale, Richard Ottaway, Mike Hancock, Desmond Turner, Nick Palmer, Bob Russell, Andrew Love, Edward O?Hara, Harry Cohen, Susan Kramer, Graham Stuart, Ann Clwyd, Andrew George, Nick Ainger, Mike Wood, Martin Horwood, Lembit Opik, Jeremy Browne, Lynne Featherstone, Julie Morgan. Gwyn Prosser, Adrian Sanders, Bob Laxton, Elfyn Llwyd, Andrew Miller, Colin Challen, Bill Etherington, Roger Godsiff, Fabian Hamilton, Andy Slaughter, Mark Williams, Norman Lamb, Paul Farrelly, Janet Anderson, Phil Willis, Richard Younger-Ross, Roger Williams, Parmjit Dhanda, Glenda Jackson, Tom Levitt, John Mann, Martin Caton, Frank Doran, Sandra Gidley, Judy Mallaber, Tom Brake, David Chaytor, Ben Wallace, David Anderson, Angela C Smith, Stephan Williams, Norman Baker, Jim Dowd, John Austin, Doug Naysmith, Sandra Osborne, Alister Carmichael, Michael Meacher, Graham Allen, Emily Thornbury, Kate Hoey, Martin Salter.
About Dignity in Dying:
- Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients.
- Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
- Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.
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