Majority of MPs oppose assisted suicide
More than 7 out of 10 MPs refuse to put their weight behind calls to legalise assisted suicide, a new ComRes poll has revealed.
The poll, which surveyed more than 150 MPs across all parties, found that only 29 per cent supported proposals to introduce assisted suicide, whilst 59 per cent were opposed to the move and 12 per cent were undecided.
The poll also found that the majority of MPs believe that a change in the law would result in an increase in the number of suicides, and 72 per felt that it would place vulnerable people under pressure to end their lives prematurely.
Almost 60 per cent were of the opinion that the current economic climate would result in more patients opting for an assisted death to avoid placing a financial burden on family members and carers.
The majority of MPs across all political parties also disagreed with the statement that legalising assisted suicide was presently a key priority, with just 5% of Labour MPs thinking otherwise
Dr Peter Saunders, campaign director of Care Not Killing, said: “Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would put pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives and these pressures will be particularly acute at a time when many sick, elderly and disabled people are struggling to make ends meet.
“Fortunately, a clear majority of MPs recognise this and agree that assisted suicide should not be legalised.”
MPs in Scotland were also strongly in favour of maintaining the current prohibitions, with 86 per cent believing that the law should not be changed.
The findings were made as Independent MSP Margo MacDonald announced last week that she has received the necessary 18 signatures to bring forward a bill legalising assisted suicide for those with “terminal conditions” in Scotland.
The new draft bill is expected to be presented before the Scottish Parliament early next year.
Leading assisted suicide campaigner Lord Falconer QC also launched a public consultation in July outlining his proposals to bring forward a private member’s bill in the House of Lords aimed at legalising assisted suicide for mentally competent adults with less than twelve months to live.
The consultation will close on 20 November (guidelines on how to respond will be issued by Christian Concern shortly).
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“A small but vocal minority of well-organised campaigners are applying sustained pressure to weaken the law on assisted suicide and change public opinion on this issue.
“It is crucial however that the current law is upheld to protect vulnerable people from being pressurised into taking their own lives.
“We must show the utmost compassion and protect them from the pressure to die prematurely to relieve loved ones of the burden of care.
“Disability groups are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current protections in place because they understand the consequences of removing them”.