The latest attempt to liberalise the current law and introduce assisted suicide has been comprehensively defeated in the Commons today.
The Assisted Dying Bill (No 2) was soundly rejected by MPs at Second Reading with 330 MPs voting against the legislation and 118 voting in favour.
The legislation, based on Lord Falconer’s previous Bill in the House of Lords came in for strong criticism by MPs across the chamber for a whole variety of reasons, most notably in relation to the so called safeguards.
It is also opposed by the Royal Colleges of Physicians, the British and World Medical Associations, elderly and disabled organisations, and right-to-life advocates.
Public policy charity CARE, one of the UK’s largest Christian charities and a prominent campaigner against assisted suicide, said the outcome was a victory for vulnerable and elderly people across the nation.
The charity’s CEO said the government should make significant investments in developing palliative care and the UK’s already extensive hospice network to ensure all patients have access to quality end-of-life care.
CARE CEO Nola Leach said:
“I’m delighted so many MPs voted against this bill, the margin of victory is clear and comprehensive.
“The legalisation of assisted suicide would have been a fundamental departure from our nation’s compassionate heritage and a dangerous mistake to make.
“Far from being broken, the current law protects both doctors and patients and assisted suicide would only undermine that protection and parliament today has overwhelmingly rejected the arguments calling for a radical change to that law.
"This is a positive day for many vulnerable people who are understandably concerned by the proposed bill which would have enabled servants of the state such as doctors to prescribe lethal medication, contradicting the vital ‘do not harm’ principle which underpins the medical profession.
“Right across the chamber, it was encouraging to hear so many MPs express so clearly concerns about the proposed legislation.
“People on both sides of this debate share a common desire to ensure people are helped at the end of their lives and now MPs have rejected assisted suicide as incompatible with a caring society, it is time for the government to make significant investments in palliative care and our hospices to ensure all have access to the best possible end-of-life care.”
Notes to Editors:
For more information and interview requests, please contact James Mildred on 0207 227 4731 / 07581153693 or email email@example.com
Baroness Findlay, a leading palliative care expert and former President of the British Medical Council has a palliative care bill, Access to Palliative Care Bill, awaiting its second reading in the House of Lords; more information on the bill can be found here:
In Scotland recently, MSPs rejected assisted suicide comprehensively: