House of Lords
Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to ensure that the recent Council of Europe agreement that "euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit must always be prohibited" (Resolution 1859/2012) is reflected in the domestic laws of the United Kingdom.
Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)
Council of Europe Resolution 1859/2012 is limited to the question of advance directives, living wills and continuing powers of attorney. It aims to empower people to record their wishes regarding their medical treatment for a time in the future when they may lack the capacity to consent to or refuse a particular treatment. The relevant domestic law in that area is the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Euthanasia, commonly understood to be the intentional taking of life albeit at a person's request or for a merciful motive, is prohibited in England and Wales by the law of murder. The Government believe that any change to the law in this emotive and contentious area is an issue of individual conscience and therefore a matter for Parliament to decide rather than one for government policy.