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On Wednesday the House of Lords heard a Question for Short Debate (QSD), tabled by Baroness Jay, where the Government reaffirmed its position that there would be a free vote on the issue of assisted dying when it comes to either House. The debate was primarily concerned with the effectiveness of the current DPP guidelines on prosecution for assisted suicide, and whether this was the best way to provide both choice and protection.

Sarah Wootton said:

“The government recognises that this is an issue of great personal interest to many Parliamentarians, therefore we welcome this continued approach and hope this issue is given sufficient time for a constructive debate when Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill receives its Second Reading in the Summer.

“Lords on all sides of the House queried how a post-investigative process, where the main witness is already dead, can be more stringent than a law with upfront safeguards. A law which would ensure dying people have discussed their wishes with healthcare professionals, who are then able to ascertain if they are terminally ill and mentally competent with a clear and settled wish to end their life, is surely more effective.

“The vast majority of the public support assisted dying and this is reflected by the cross party support in the House of Lords. Sadly this support has not yet led to a change in the law and it’s clear that Parliament must act.”


Notes to editor:

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About Dignity in Dying:

Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.

Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.