11 September 2015, The Tablet

MPs vote overwhelmingly against assisted dying bill

MPs have voted overwhelmingly against legalising assisted dying.

In a free vote in the House of Commons, 330 MPs were against the private members bill, while 118 MPs voted in favour of allowing doctors to assist terminally-ill patients to take their own lives. 202 MPs were absent from the vote.

The Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, said that he hoped the result meant that this would be an end to the debate on assisted dying.

“I welcome Parliament’s recognition of the grave risks that this bill posed to the lives of our society’s most vulnerable people,” he said.

“There is much excellent practice in palliative care which we need to celebrate and promote, and I hope now the debate on assisted suicide is behind us, that this will become a focus for political action.

“I am encouraged by the participation of so many Catholics throughout England and Wales in this important discussion and hope that everyone involved will continue to support calls for better quality care as life nears its end,” he added. 

The vote is the third time such legislation has failed since 1997. Rob Marris’s private member's bill was dealt a significant blow this morning when Downing Street confirmed that the prime minister, David Cameron, was firmly against the bill becoming law.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The PM’s views are clear on this issue. He is not convinced further steps need to be taken and he is not in favour of an approach that would take us closer to euthanasia.”

In the last parliament, Lord Falconer put forward an Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords, but it ran out of time before the 2015 general election.

The last time MPs voted on the issue was in 1997 when 234 were against the plans and 89 were in favour.

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