Petition Hold a parliamentary vote on assisted dying

This petition calls for the Government to allocate Parliamentary time for assisted dying to be fully debated in the House of Commons and to give MPs a vote on the issue. Terminally ill people who are mentally sound and near the end of their lives should not suffer unbearably against their will.

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We believe dying people in the UK should have the option of requesting medical assistance to end their lives with dignity, through a safe and compassionate system with strict eligibility criteria and safeguards. Without this, too many are taking matters into their own hands with tragic consequences. The Daily Express and Dignity in Dying support Dame Esther Rantzen's call for a free vote. The time has come to Give Us Our Last Rights.

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Parliament will debate this petition

Parliament will debate this petition on 29 April 2024.

You'll be able to watch online on the UK Parliament YouTube channel.

Government responded

This response was given on 22 February 2024

It remains the Government’s view that any change to the law in this sensitive area is a matter for Parliament to decide.

The Government has the utmost sympathy for anyone experiencing the pain of watching a loved one deal with a life-threatening or degenerative condition.

Whether there are any circumstances in which it should not be an offence to assist another person to die is something on which there are passionately held but deeply divided views. Even amongst those who support a change in the law, there are differing ideas on where the line should be drawn, what safeguards should be in place and for whom. Conversely, others feel strongly that the law should not be changed and that safeguards will not necessarily give enough protection to vulnerable people who may feel pressure, whether real or perceived, to end their own lives.

It remains the Government’s view that any change to the law in this sensitive area is a matter for Parliament to decide and an issue of conscience for individual parliamentarians rather than one for government policy. Parliament has debated this issue on several occasions, most recently in July 2022, but has so far voted against proposals to legalise assisted dying.

There is a significant amount of government legislation planned in this session and there is, as always, pressure on the government’s timetable. However, the Government is committed to providing time to the Backbench Business Committee which gives MPs the opportunity to bring forward debates of their choice and MPs also have the option of introducing Private Members' Bills which provide MPs with an opportunity to address public concerns and to change the law.

If the will of Parliament is that the law on assisting suicide should change, the Government would not stand in its way, but would seek to ensure that the law could be enforced in the way that Parliament intended.

Ministry of Justice

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