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Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants new assisted suicide debate

4 May 2021
Matt hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has opened the door to a new debate on assisted suicide by calling for more clarity on the number of people with terminal illness who have accessed ‘assisted dying’.

At the weekend it emerged that Mr Hancock has written to Sir Ian Diamond, the national statistician, to ask for data on the number of Britons accessing assisted suicide overseas.

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell also called for a review of the law which prohibits doctors from killing patients or assisting patients to take their own lives.

Calls for a new debate on assisted suicide have been mounting in recent months in England and in Scotland, where a Private Member’s Bill is expected early in the next parliament.

In 2015, MPs overwhelmingly rejected a change in the law to allow assisted suicide for terminally ill people citing concerns that it would be incrementally extended to include other groups and pressurise vulnerable citizens to end their lives.

James Mildred, Chief Communications Officer at CARE, commented:

“The starting gun has been fired on a fresh attempt to legalise assisted suicide in England. It is depressing that the Health Secretary, who has overseen national efforts to preserve vulnerable elderly lives throughout the coronavirus pandemic, is the one holding the gun.

“Nothing has changed since 2015. ‘Assisted dying’ laws are still a threat to the vulnerable. And evidence from overseas proves that narrowly defined laws are soon extended to include other groups. In the wake of COVID-19, we need to build a society that respects and protects our most vulnerable citizens. Legalising assisted suicide is not the way to do this.”
James Mildred

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