Peers back Assisted Dying Bill
The House of Lords has voted in favour of changing the law on assisted dying, in what campaigners called “a significant victory”.
Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill returned for its second day of Committee Stage with opponents looking to change the name of the Bill and the terminology used within it as a means of showing discontent with the basic proposition.
Today Lord Carlile’s attempt to restrict doctors who could consult with a patient and put further barriers in the way for terminally ill people was defeated 61-119.
Previously on the first day of Committee peers had unanimously supported an amendment to introduce judicial oversight tabled by longstanding supporter Lord Pannick QC with Lord Falconer’s backing.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of
Dignity in Dying, said:
“Today’s historic vote shows there is now parliamentary support for a change in the law to give terminally ill people greater choice and control over the dying process.
“A vote that will give huge comfort to those who are at present forced to suffer against their wishes at the end of life.
“Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill has now progressed further than any legislation on this issue before it, receiving the support of nearly two thirds of peers. We are now debating how, not if, we change the law on assisted dying for the terminally ill.”
Dignity in Dying is also celebrating the fact that while 59% of peers opposed assisted dying in 2006, when Lord Joffe introduced legislation, today Lord Falconer’s Bill received the support of 60% of the House of Lords.
“It is critical that the Bill be allowed more time to progress after another significant step forward in today’s proceedings,” Wootton said.
“We are now moving towards agreement on the detail of the safeguards, so that a workable Bill can be considered by the House of Commons.
“The clear and settled will of the public that the law needs to change is consistently evidenced by opinion polls.”