On Air Manx Radio Breakfast Ben Hartley | 6:00am - 9:00am

Assisted dying legislation divides opinion in Keys

Bill ultimately voted to progress

Politicians have voted in favour of proceeding with introducing legislation which would help terminally ill people seek assistance to end their own lives.

It followed an extensive six-hour debate in the House of Keys yesterday – which Manx Radio broadcast in full and followed in a live blog.

Seventeen members ultimately voted in favour, with seven voting against.

It was of course, by its very nature, a divisive debate – and the first opportunity that MHKs had to discuss, at length, the main principles of the bill.

Onchan MHK Rob Callister tabled a motion to have the bill referred to a committee of five members to consider and report by the end of February 2024, but given how long the debate went on, this has been tabled to be voted on next week instead. 

Elsewhere, he highlighted concerns about what he described as ‘death tourism’:

Garff MHK’s Andrew Smith and Daphne Caine had opposing opinions on their support for the bill with the latter saying it was the clauses stage which would provide the ‘proper place for debate’.

Mrs Caine also called on others not to compare this to suicide:

Arbory Castletown and Malew MHK's Jason Moorhouse and Tim Glover appeared to share the same lack of support for the bill, with the latter saying there was no need to rush it – a sentiment echoed by Peel and Glenfaba MHK Kate Lord-Brennan:

In contrast, Douglas North MHK’s David Ashford and John Wannenburgh said whilst they had concerns about safeguarding in certain areas this provided the opportunity to make progressive change:

Meanwhile Ayre and Michael MHK Alfred Cannan made his opinion clear - saying legislators should not be 'playing God':

And it's a debate that certainly divides opinion outside of the Island's parliament.

Out on the streets, members of three different groups were making their voices heard ahead of the sitting:

So, what happens next?

Well the bill will now progress to the clauses stage, where some of the finer details will begin to be hashed out - the stage where Dr Allinson hopes it will become 'our bill' - with all members contributing and shaping the legislation - rather one shaped by his work alone.

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