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Prime Minister to oppose assisted suicide bill

Assisted Suicide
11 October 2021
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will oppose assisted suicide legislation before Parliament, The Telegraph understands.

According to the newspaper, the Prime Minister came to the decision after carefully reviewing arguments for and against a change in the law during his summer break.

The Telegraph also reports that Health Secretary Sajid Javid is “understood to have made clear to friends that he does not intend to vote to relax the law”.

The news will be welcomed by opponents of assisted suicide who feared a move towards Cabinet support for a change in the law. In the last year, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former Justice Secretary David Gauke both endorsed assisted suicide.

The government’s position appears to in line with that of parliament, which has strongly opposed assisted suicide on several occasions. A spokesman told the Telegraph:

“This is an extremely sensitive and personal issue. The government’s position has always been that it is a matter of individual conscience and therefore for Parliament to decide on.

“Parliament has debated this issue on several occasions and as things stand the will of Parliament is that there should be no change to the law.”

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also spoken against proposals to legalise assisted suicide citing fears about safeguards.

Speaking before the last debate on the issue in 2015, she said.

"I voted against it last time and I haven't been convinced of assisted suicide this time either. A major stumbling block is the issue of sufficient safeguards. I believe we should support people to live and I am therefore in favour of good quality palliative care."

A spokesman for CARE said: “It’s striking that both Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon – two politicians who are diametrically opposed on many issues – share concerns about the impact of legalised assisted suicide. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that this practice is dangerous and cannot be made safe by supposed legal safeguards.

“It is vital that politicians at both Westminster and Holyrood keep ‘assisted dying’ off the statute books in the coming months, as they have consistently done in the past.”

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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