Thank you for contacting me about assisted dying.

This is a complex and emotive issue and I know there are strongly held ethical and moral views on both sides of the debate.

Successive governments have taken the view that Parliament should decide on this issue and any change to the law would be a matter of conscience for individual MPs. I agree with this approach. Assisted dying should not be an alternative to high-quality palliative and end of life care.

People deserve dignity in dying, and each person nearing the end of their life should feel reassured and safe in the knowledge they will receive the very best care. Parliament voted against proposals to allow lawful assistance with suicide in September 2015 when the House of Commons rejected the Assisted Dying (No.2) Bill.

More recently, the House of Lords voted against an amendment to the Health and Care Bill (now Act), which would have required the Health Secretary to lay before Parliament a draft Bill on assisted dying. Many are understandably concerned by any changes to the law on assisted dying for a variety of reasons.

Implementing the necessary safeguards to protect vulnerable people while still offering the legal right to end one’s life is legally and ethically complex, and there are concerns that some could be taken advantage of or have pressure placed on them to end their lives by bad-faith actors while they are not in a state of mind to decide for themselves.

The Government has no plans to review the law on assisted dying and said any change would have to be made via a Private Members’ Bill (PMB); that is a Bill introduced by an MP or Lord who are not members of the Government. The Health and Social Care Committee launched an inquiry to examine different perspectives in the debate on assisted dying/assisted suicide in December 2022.

Giving evidence to the inquiry in July 2023, the Care Minister said that “if the will of Parliament is that the law on assisted dying should change, then Government would not stand in its way”.

Ministers said any future debate on assisted dying should include evidence from clinicians, values-based and faith-based evidence from those who have a particular view on this subject, and evidence of the personal choices of those approaching end of life.

Any future debate must also include voices and views from the disabled community, as this is an issue which impacts disabled people considerably. It is vital that MPs continue to consider the views that people hold on this important matter.

As your elected representative in Parliament, I assure you I will bear in mind the points you have raised.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

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