Charles Moore: Meacher Bill pushes assisted suicide not ‘assisted dying’

The latest push to legalise assisted suicide in England and Wales has been branded “the legislative equivalent of vexatious litigation” by former newspaper editor Charles Moore.

Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill – set to be debated next month in the House of Lords – would enable those deemed to have less than six months to live to get help to kill themselves.

In 2015, a Bill to remove current safeguards was soundly defeated in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.


Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Moore highlighted that, despite proposals being repeatedly debated and rejected, “the subject is pushed back on to the agenda”.

The respected commentator also challenged the terminology favoured by those pushing to remove legal protections for vulnerable people.

What the Bill is talking about is not assisted dying, but assisted suicide, a much grimmer concept.

“’Assisted dying’ is a phrase designed to make euthanasia sound good. But we already have, thank goodness, plenty of assisted dying – most notably provided by the hospice movement. Its excellent nurses help people die well, but never, even if patients demand it, try to enable death.

“What the Bill is talking about is not assisted dying, but assisted suicide, a much grimmer concept.”


Earlier this year, a Christian MP helped to launch an all-party parliamentary group to oppose assisted suicide in the UK.

Danny Kruger MP said that the push for such legislation was “dystopic”, warning “Once you have conceded, legally, the right of some people to request official help to kill themselves, that right quickly becomes universal.”

Under the current law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a person who intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person commits an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

In 2015, MSPs in the Scottish Parliament rejected Patrick Harvie’s Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill by 82 votes to 36.

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Also see:

Paralympian Peer: ‘Writing on wall for disabled people in assisted suicide Bill’

Disabled Peer speaks out against new attempt to legalise assisted suicide

Humanists attack end-of-life protections

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