Assisted Dying Bill defeated by substantial majority

Defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill at Second reading

Rob Marris’ Private Member’s Bill – the Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill – was presented to Parliament through the ballot procedure on 24 June 2015 and given its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 11 September. The House of Commons Library had published a comprehensive 49-page Briefing Paper for MPs covering: the Suicide Act 1961; case law on assisted suicide; the DPP’s policy for prosecuting cases of assisted suicide; previous attempts to change the law; the Assisted Dying Bill; and the various stakeholders. A substantial amount of further material had been produced by those on both sides of the argument. The BBC’s Mark D’Arcy suggested that the debate would be “a classic private members’ bill tactical battle, with opponents seeking to talk the bill out, and supporters hoping to muster enough MPs to force a vote and get the bill through to detailed scrutiny in committee.” Whilst this was the first real test of the 2015 Commons on this kind of free vote issue, more importantly it was the first occasion upon which the House of Commons had the opportunity to vote on the issue since 1997, [HC Hansard, 10 Dec 1997 : Col 1025]. Continue reading