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Rishi Sunak is not opposed to assisted suicide

Assisted Suicide
17 June 2024
Rishi Sunak campaign conservative pm

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed he is not opposed to assisted suicide in principle, ahead of an anticipated vote on the topic in the next parliament.

Sunak stated, “I’m not against it in principle. It’s just a question of having the safeguards in place,” during a conversation with journalists in Puglia.

This issue is likely to see a Commons vote within the next five years, as Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose party is leading in the polls, has pledged to allocate time for a vote and supports a change in the law.

Speaking with broadcaster, and assisted suicide advocate, Esther Rantzen, Starmer says, “I’m personally in favour of changing the law. I think we need to make time. We will make the commitment.”

Sunak emphasised that the Conservative manifesto treats assisted suicide as a matter of conscience, with a commitment to follow parliament's decision.

Starmer’s commitment is not in the Labour manifesto.

Assisted suicide remains illegal in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

Scotland prosecutes euthanasia as murder or culpable homicide.

In 2015, a bill to legalise assisted suicide was defeated by 330 to 118 votes, though it had support from Starmer and several Conservative cabinet members.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting voted in favour of the bill in 2015 but has more recently expressed conditional support for changing the law.

Streeting shared with Times Radio that he would “need reassurance that no one would feel coerced into ending their life sooner, that no doctor would be coerced or forced to take part in ending someone’s life in that way.”

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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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