Times readers slam columnist Parris for pressuring elderly and infirm to kill themselves

Legalising assisted suicide would have “untold costs for the most vulnerable”, readers of The Times have warned one of the paper’s star columnists.

Readers rebuked Matthew Parris for boasting that he would “welcome” the social and cultural pressure which would “grow on the terminally ill to hasten their own deaths so as ‘not to be a burden’ on others or themselves”.

Parris said he doesn’t “apologise for the reductivist tone” of his argument, claiming it would be a “good thing” if the elderly and infirm were urged to believe their “time is up”.

Image of God

Canon Erik Wilson of Beverley wrote: “I do not wish to be around if the consequences of Mr Parris’ argument ever materialise.”

“The taboo that he suggests should be lifted must essentially be the Judeo-Christian belief in the value of each human as made in the image of God and loved by God, which has informed the development of western laws and civilization.”

Asking what values would replace this, he added: “What of those ‘units’ incapable of making a rational decision or who will be, by way of mental or physical incapacity, in ‘deficit’ from the beginning of life? Should a decision be made for them? If people are valued as a deficit or surplus to the collective, why leave the decision to end a life with the individual?”

I do not wish to be around if the consequences of Mr Parris’ argument ever materialise.

READ: Assisted suicide: Matthew Parris has said the quiet part out loud

Lives worth living

Christine Crossley branded Parris’ argument a “‘luxury belief’ — that is, one held by those with agency and privilege that will have untold costs for the most vulnerable in society”.

Highlighting some of the challenges already faced by disabled people, Evan John added: “I cannot help thinking society already gives far too many hints that some people’s lives are worth less than others.”

With legislation to permit assisted suicide being considered in Scotland, the Isle of Man and Jersey, and a celebrity-backed campaign to legalise the practice in England and Wales, numerous physicians and academics also flooded The Daily Telegraph’s letters page to warn against removing end-of-life protections.


Last month, Britain was urged not to follow Canada in “skiing” down euthanasia’s slippery slope to a point where the elderly and disabled are pressured to die.

Since legalising so-called Medical Assistance in Dying for certain circumstances in 2016, Canada has already abolished the requirement for a person to be terminally ill and will extend it to those with mental health problems in 2027.

Also see:

Elderly woman

Nicola Sturgeon ‘swaying against’ Scotland’s assisted suicide Bill

RoI assisted suicide proposals ‘naïve and out of touch’

MPs give stark warning on assisted suicide but fall short of opposing change in law

Related Resources