PNADTI101005

IMMEDIATE

MONDAY 10 OCTOBER 2005

ATTENTION: NEWS EDITORS/MEDICAL/HEALTH/RELIGIOUS/ SOCIAL AFFAIRS/POLITICAL/LEGAL CORRESPONDENTS

LORDS DEBATE REPORT ON ASSISTED DYING FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL BILL

More than 70 Peers are due to speak in a debate today on a Lords Committee report on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill (ADTI) Bill.

Lord Joffe's ADTI Bill, which lapsed when Parliament was dissolved for the election in April, sought to legalise assistance with suicide and voluntary euthanasia for terminally-ill people who are mentally competent and suffering unbearably.

Following a formal Second Reading of the bill on 10 March 2004 it was committed to a Select Committee chaired by Lord Mackay of Clashfern. The Committee's report summarised the extensive evidence it received in the course of its inquiry.

The Committee identified a number of key issues which, it suggested, any  future bill on this subject should address. These include:

  • The need for any future bill to distinguish clearly between assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia in order to give the House the opportunity to consider these two courses of action separately and to decide, if it should favour a change in the law, whether it would be appropriate to legalise only one or both of them.

  • The need for qualifying conditions for assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia to be set which reflect the realities of clinical practice as regards the prognosis of terminal illness and which define a patient's suffering in as objective a manner as possible - eg 'unrelievable' rather than 'unbearable' suffering.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. The debate is due to start between 3 pm and 4 pm (due to the nature of parliamentary business exact timings cannot be given). You can follow the debate live via www.parliamentlive.tv

2. The report published on 4 April 2005  is available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200405/ldselect/ldasdy/86/86i.pdf

3. Two volumes evidence are available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200405/ldselect/ldasdy/86/86ii.pdf and http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200405/ldselect/ldasdy/86/86iii.pdf

4. The Committee's press release on the report is available at:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_press_notices/pn040405adb.cfm

5. Link to the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldbills/017/2004017.pdf

The Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill follows a similar bill by Lord Joffe - the Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill - which was debated in the House in June 2003 but did not proceed further. 

6. The members of the Committee on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill were Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Chairman), The Earl of Arran, Lord Carlile of Berriew, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, Baroness Hayman, Baroness Jay of Paddington, Lord Joffe, Lord McColl of Dulwich, Lord Patel, The Bishop of St Albans, Lord Taverne, Baroness Thomas of Walliswood and Lord Turnberg.

7. You can attend the debate in the House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, via St Stephen's Entrance.

8. The text of the debate will be available via: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/home.htm

9. A list of members speaking in the debate can be found at: http://www.lordswhips.org.uk/display/templatedisplay3.asp?sectionid=5

 [ENDS]