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Assisted Suicide in the 2024 Manifestos

more: Official documents, Legislation, Official documents/Legislation

13th June 2024

What are the major parties pledging regarding assisted suicide legislation in the new Parliament?

Assisted Suicide in the 2024 Manifestos

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While there is often great diversity within parties, and opposition to assisted suicide is found across the political spectrum, it is important to know how party leaderships would steer their Parliamentarians as and when the much-debated issue of assisted suicide is inevitably hauled before the new Parliament.


"We will maintain the position that assisted dying is a matter of conscience and will respect the will of Parliament. Debates on assisted dying should never distract from the importance of delivering high-quality palliative care services and we will continue to support children's and adults' hospices."


Rishi Sunak has since commented that he's "not against it in principle. It's just a question of having the safeguards in place". Many people who have stood against a change in the law are sympathetic to the principle and those propounding it - but have never been convinced by so-called safeguards.


Labour's manifesto makes no reference to assisted suicide or "assisted dying", but in March, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told Dame Esther Rantzen:

"I'm personally in favour of changing the law… I think we need to make time. We will make the commitment. Esther, I can give you that commitment right now."

Paul Blomfield, who stood down as a Labour MP when Parliament was dissolved, said:

"The commitment that Keir's made to find parliamentary time for a proper legislative debate is absolutely critical and it transforms the position."

That commitment stands in contrast to the Labour manifesto's aspiration to "reduce the lives lost to suicide."

"We must change the NHS so that it… [reflects] the change in the nature of disease, with a greater focus on the management of chronic, long-term conditions. And we will deliver a renewed drive to tackle the biggest killers; cutting the lives lost to cancer, cardiovascular disease and suicide, while ensuring people live well for longer."

"We will recruit an additional 8,500 new staff to treat children and adults through our first term. As part of our mission to reduce the lives lost to suicide, these new staff will be specially trained to support people at risk."

"We will trial Neighbourhood Health Centres, by bringing together existing services such as family doctors, district nurses, care workers, physiotherapists, palliative care, and mental health specialists under one roof."

Many within Labour say assisted suicide is antithetical to the Labour movement's values, and voters in this election should pay special attention to views expressed by individual candidates.

Liberal Democrats

"Give Parliament time to fully debate and vote on legislation on assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults with strict safeguards, subject to a free vote."

"Provide a fair funding deal for hospices, including children's hospices, recognising the valuable services they provide and saving money on hospital admissions."

"Improve early access to mental health services by… cutting suicide rates with a focus on community suicide prevention services and improving prevention training for frontline NHS staff."



"Elected Greens will support a change in the law to legalise assisted dying for people suffering from terminal disease who wish to avoid prolonged unnecessary suffering, if this is their clear and settled will. Proper safeguards would be put in place."

The manifesto makes no reference to palliative/hospice care or suicide prevention.

Scottish Family Party

"We oppose the introduction of assisted suicide and euthanasia. If choosing death is seen as a valid option, this will inevitably lead to vulnerable people experiencing pressure, real or imagined, to end their lives. We want everyone to feel valued and worthy of the highest degree of care throughout their life. Suicide should not be promoted as a valid response to difficulties."


Plaid Cymru, Reform UK, the Social Democratic Party and the Workers Party of Britain (George Galloway) made no reference to assisted suicide, "assisted dying" or palliative/hospice care in their manifestos. The Scottish National Party has yet to publish its manifesto, but as assisted suicide in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Parliament, it is unlikely to feature in their manifesto.

© Image copyright of Duncan Cumming and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

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