On Tuesday the House will debate Lord Falconer’s amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill that would allow a friend or relative to accompany a person who travels to a clinic where there is assisted dying. Like many Peers I have received letters and emails about this.
I shall vote for the amendment. Assisted dying for terminally ill people is allowed in a number of countries and currently the law in Britain is unclear about the legality of travelling with a person to such a clinic. The 1961 Suicide Act criminalises anyone who aids, abets, counsels or procures someone else’s suicide. Although this hasn’t led to any prosecutions I think we need to make it clear that no offence can be committed by accompanying a person to such clinics. People caught up in such tragic situations do not need the threat of a prosecution hanging over them.