Assisted Dying

Part of Sale of New Petrol and Diesel Cars and Vans – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of Nicholas Boles Nicholas Boles Independent, Grantham and Stamford 2:23 pm, 4th July 2019

I must wind up, because Madam Deputy Speaker has pointed out that there are many, many Members who wish to speak.

I am keen to hear from as many Members as possible during this debate. I will listen to all contributions with sincere respect, because this is a very difficult issue and one on which I myself have changed my mind since 2015. Before I sit down, I would just like to say a word on the role of religious faith in the debate about assisted dying.

I admire people who are blessed with religious belief. My own father was, and I envied him. Faith groups play a very positive role in our society and I salute them for it, but this country is a democracy, not a theocracy. When we make our laws, we must focus on men and women, not on God. Parliament was right to legislate to allow abortion for women in the early months of a pregnancy, despite the opposition of Church leaders. Parliament was right to legislate to extend the institution of marriage to gay people although most organised religions still consider homosexuality a sin. When Parliament next debates the reform of our laws on assisted dying, I hope that it is not religious doctrine, but humanity—our humanity as Members of Parliament and the humanity of all those suffering from terminal illnesses—that wins the day.