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Lords debates Assisted Dying Bill at second reading

25 October 2021

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Members of the Lords debated the main principles and purpose of the Assisted Dying Bill during second reading, on Friday 22 October.

The Assisted Dying Bill seeks to enable adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life.

Debate on assisted dying

Members discussed the key areas of the bill during the second reading debate

End of life

In a wide-ranging debate, members covered the ethical issues involved. They often raised personal experiences of dying friends and relatives: a letter was read out from a member who has been staying in a hospice for end of life care.

Some members raised concerns about safeguards for vulnerable people, other members argued for freedom of choice at end of life.

Members speaking

Baroness Meacher (Crossbench), chair of Dignity in Dying and the bill's sponsor in the Lords, opened the debate.

Nearly 140 members took part, including:

Other members taking part represented a wide range of professions and diverse personal experiences.

Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (Conservative), former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, made her maiden speech.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, responded on behalf of the government.

What is a private member's bill?

This is a private member's bill, a type of public bill introduced by an individual member of the House (rather than the government). Public bills affect everyone. Private members' bills must go through the same set of procedures as other public bills.

Get involved

Watch and read the debate

Catch up on Parliament TV, YouTube or read a Lords Hansard transcript

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Assisted Dying Bill briefing.

Next steps

Committee stage, the first chance for line by line examination of the bill, is yet to be scheduled.

Image: House of Lords 2021 / photography by Roger Harris