A press release from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well (a network of MPs and peers, supported by Care Not Killing, promoting excellence in end of life care and opposing the legalisation of doctor assisted suicide) following the Assisted Dying Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.
Date: Friday 22nd October 2021
Release time: Immediate
Very large number of Peers speak in opposition to Lords assisted suicide bill
In line with convention, the Assisted Dying Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords today after over 7 hours and speeches from over 60 Peers opposing the Bill. It is the normal custom for Bills to move to Committee Stage without a division at this stage. It by no means implies the support of the House of Lords.
Given the Bill does not have Government support, it is very unlikely to be given the time in Parliament to be debated in the House of Commons and have any chance of becoming law.
The very large number of Peers who spoke against the Bill signifies that assisted suicide and euthanasia are strongly opposed by a large proportion of the House. The content and the quality of their speeches also demonstrated beyond any doubt that this Bill is unsafe and should not pass into law.
It is clear that many within Parliament robustly oppose this Bill.
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well and a Professor of Palliative Medicine, said:
"Peers have today demonstrated a powerful opposition to this bill. Many vulnerable people are unaware of the dangers in going down this road, as this bill has hidden dangers, unsafe qualifying criteria, and potentially opens the door to even wider legislation.
"Instead, the focus should be on pressing the Government to do more to ensure good palliative and end-of-life care for everyone, everywhere in this country."
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, Founder of Not Dead Yet UK and long-term campaigner on disability equality and human rights, said:
"Passing this law would be a dark day in our nation's history. It would run counter to our duty to protect those in the most vulnerable situations, and would exacerbate their fears, through insidious pressure, of being regarded as an expendable burden. As has happened elsewhere, the Bill would doubtless be extended.
"No major disability rights group in the UK supports legalising assisted suicide. What they support is immediate and sustained improvement in their care. Now is not the time to abandon them to the desperate temptation of an assisted suicide under the guise of compassion."
Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, Crossbench Life Peer and one of Britain's greatest Paralympic athletes, said:
"The legal, medical and social implications of the Bill for disabled people are enormous. They need to know that doctors are obliged to do all they can to help everyone to live a good life. The current law keeps unconscious discrimination and social bias towards disabled people in check."
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well promotes access to excellent care at end of life and stands against the legalisation of doctor assisted suicide in the UK. For more information visit https://www.dyingwell.co.uk/about/