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Pressure on Parliament to change assisted dying law in 2015

70 campaigners, including those affected by our current law, politicians, and senior healthcare professionals have today called on the next Government to change the law on assisted dying in 2015

This year significant progress has been made in the campaign to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill people.

Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart and other assisted dying campaigners are calling on Parliament to change the law on assisted dying

In light of pressure from the Supreme Court, Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill unanimously passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords, and at Committee Stage the majority of peers engaged constructively, rather than seeking to block its progress. To that end, an amendment was agreed to include the additional safeguard of judicial oversight. If there is not enough time for the Bill to complete its stages before the General Election then it is imperative that Parliament continues this important debate afterwards.

Currently one Briton a fortnight is travelling to Dignitas. For each person who travels abroad, ten terminally ill people are taking their own lives in this country. The 2014 Reith Lecturer Dr Atul Gawande has commented on assisted dying,

…we are heartless if we don’t recognise unbearable suffering and seek to alleviate it

The overwhelming majority of the public supports law change on assisted dying, and no one believes that someone should face a prison sentence of 14 years for compassionately assisting a loved one to die.

We are closer than ever to allowing dying people to have safeguarded choice in how they approach their deaths. Whoever forms the next Government must allow time for Parliament to reach consensus on a safeguarded law.

Letter signatories

  • Dr Aileen K Adams CBE
  • The Earl of Arran
  • Julian Barnes
  • Rt Hon Baroness Blackstone
  • Paul Blomfield MP
  • Jo Brand
  • Rosemary Brown OBE
  • Rt Rev & Rt Hon Lord Carey of Clifton
  • Sir Graeme Catto
  • Prof Dame Jill Macleod Clark
  • Dame June Clark
  • Lesley Close
  • Harriet Copperman OBE
  • Viscount Craigavon
  • Dr Jacky Davis
  • Rt Hon Lord Dholakia OBE
  • Joe Dunthorne
  • Sir Terence English
  • Barbara Follett
  • Anna Ford
  • Prof Godfrey Fowler OBE
  • Lady Celia Goodheart
  • Hugh Grant
  • Brenda Fricker
  • AC Grayling
  • Susan Hampshire OBE
  • Canon Rosie Harper
  • Sir Michael Holroyd CBE
  • Dame Elisabeth Hoodless
  • Eric Idle
  • Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
  • Prue Leith CBE
  • Bernard Lewis OBE
  • Lord Lipsey
  • Baroness Lister of Burtersett CBE
  • Caroline Lucas MP
  • Ian McEwan CBE
  • Prof Klim McPherson
  • Dr Elisabeth MacDonald
  • Dr Henry Marsh CBE
  • Lord May of Oxford OM
  • Baroness Meacher
  • Diana Melly
  • Sir Jonathan Miller CBE
  • Deborah Moggach
  • Sir Andrew Motion
  • Dr Michael O’Donnell
  • Rt Hon Sir Richard Ottaway MP
  • Sir Christopher Paine
  • Sophie Pandit
  • Lord Pannick QC
  • Heather Pratten
  • Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
  • Sir Michael Rawlins
  • Lord Rees of Ludlow OM
  • Lady Kathleen Richardson OBE
  • Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE
  • Nick Ross
  • Rt Hon Dame Joan Ruddock MP
  • Ruth Silver
  • Sir Patrick Stewart
  • Dame Janet Suzman
  • Prof Ray Tallis
  • Lord Taverne
  • Lord Turnbull KCB CVO
  • Edward Turner
  • Frank Turner
  • Zoë Wannamaker CBE
  • Baroness Warnock DBE
  • Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe
  • Lewis Wolpert CBE
  • Sir Chris Woodhead
  • Matthew Wright
  • Dr Graham Winyard CBE