Prime Minister David Cameron has told the House of Commons that he does not support euthanasia because of the pressure it puts on vulnerable people to end their lives.
In Prime Minister’s Questions Mr Cameron restated his opposition to the practice, and in particular to an assisted suicide Bill spearheaded by Lord Falconer which was recently debated in the House of Lords.
Fiona Bruce MP asked the question, highlighting the serious concerns of disability organisations and others.
The comments come as a Bill very similar to Lord Falconer’s is set to be voted on by MPs in the autumn.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday Mrs Bruce said: “Any move to legalise assisted suicide is viewed with the upmost concern by disability groups and others, who fear that it could pressurise the vulnerable in to making decisions that are not in their best interests.
“Would the Prime Minister inform the House of his view on this issue?”
He replied: “On this issue I agree very much with my honourable Friend, which is that I don’t support the assisted dying proposals that have come out of the other place.
“I don’t support euthanasia.”
He commented that “imperfections and problems” with the current law can be dealt with “sensitively and sensibly without having a new law that actually brings in euthanasia”.
He concluded: “And as she says, I think the problem is the pressure that is then put on frail, elderly people to take a decision that actually they might not want to go ahead with.”
Earlier this week it emerged that the Labour MP Rob Marris is bringing forward a bill to introduce assisted suicide.
Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said the Bill will “essentially be the same” as Lord Falconer’s proposals, which failed to pass in the last Parliament.
The move was made possible because Marris won the House of Commons annual ballot for backbench Private Members’ Bills.
However, he acknowledged that “the prospects of getting the law changed are difficult without official Government support”. Downing Street has indicated that it will not give its backing to the Bill.
Scottish politicians at Holyrood last month rejected a Bill to introduce assisted suicide, voting 82 to 36 against MSP Patrick Harvie’s proposals.