Religion and law round-up – 13th September

A week of complex legislative issues: assisted dying, genome editing, canonical marriage annulment, and “Purdah” and the European referendum

Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill

The big news of the week was that Rob Marris’ Private Member’s Bill – the Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill – was heavily defeated on second reading, by 330 votes to 118 – a majority of 212: you can read the debate here. Reactions were inevitably mixed: the Church of England issued a statement in which the Bishop of Carlisle, lead bishop on health care issues, said that the Church was “heartened” that MPs had decided not to change the law. The British Humanist Association, on the other hand, recalling that the Supreme Court had declared that it was willing to consider whether the lack of a right to die breached the European Convention on Human Rights but thought that Parliament should first have the opportunity to legislate on the matter, said that “the fight on assisted dying must now return to the courts”.

European Referendum Bill

The other major parliamentary news was the House of Commons report and third reading stages of the European Referendum Bill on Monday 7 September 2015. Mark D’Arcy, the BBC’s Political Correspondent, noted that “anti-EU Tories have been organising furiously to ensure that their forces are marshalled. And in an amendment paper of fiendish complexity there is a galaxy of proposed changes to the legislation”. Continue reading