Starmer Would Say Yes to Assisted Dying in the UK If Elected

After a heartwarming conversation with Dame Esther Rantzen, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has admitted he would “definitely” allow MPs to vote on assisted dying.

Assisted Dying Debate

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has made a pledge to let MPs decide whether they want to allow assisted dying in the UK after a campaign from TV personality Dame Esther Rantzen.

Sir Keir had a conversation with Dame Esther Rantzen who suffers from terminal cancer and has made it public that she has considered being euthanised herself.

MPs have voted on assisted dying as recently as 2015, with MPs voting against the measure under former Prime Minister Lord David Cameron.

New Wave of Debate

The campaign from Dame Esther Rantzen has sparked a new wave of debate as she opened up about her story of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer at the age of 83.

After his conversation with Dame Esther Rantzen, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has expressed his sympathy towards those considering assisted dying to relieve suffering.

General Election Expectation

The general election is expected to be announced in the Autumn of this year, although some are anticipating it to be as early as May.

Although Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed his willingness to open the vote for MPs on assisted dying, he never specified a time frame. Should a vote on assisted dying occur under a Labour government, it would be a free vote, allowing MPs to vote according to their conscience rather than follow their Party’s orders.

Starmer’s Vote Decided

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in his conversation with Dame Esther Rantzen that he is personally in favour of changing the law” on assisted dying, so long as the majority of MPs agree.

Dame Esther Rantzen became a member of the assisted dying organisation in Switzerland, Dignitas, after discovering her terminal cancer diagnosis. Dame Esther said in the conversation with Starmer that she is unsure of how much time she has left. 

Dame Esther admitted, “I didn’t think I would make it to my birthday,” before saying “I definitely didn’t think I’d make it to this Christmas, which I am, it appears,” speaking before the Christmas of 2023.

Dame Esther likened her diagnosis to living in a forest, suggesting that she could go at any time, “Anything can happen. I live in a forest, a tree can fall on me,” she said.

Starmer “Definitely” Will Cast Vote

In response, Starmer pledged that he would “definitely” cast the vote if he were elected as Prime Minister, saying “Delay just prolongs the agony”.

Starmer promised, “We will make the commitment. Esther, I can give you that commitment right now,” in his conversation with the former TV star. Starmer vowed that he would cast the vote in the first five years of the general election later this year, saying “Oh yes, definitely.”

He went on to insist that he wanted to get the vote done as quickly as possible, For people who are going through this or are likely to go through it in the next few months or years, this matters hugely and delay just prolongs the agony,” he said.

Current UK Law

Currently, helping someone to commit suicide in the UK can lead to a prison sentence of up to 14 years, although a vote among Scottish MPs is expected soon.

Public opinion in the UK seems to be in favour of assisted dying, with 75% of those surveyed saying they would support the idea in a recent poll.

After nearly ten years of silence on the matter, Dame Esther Rantzen’s story has touched the hearts of many who are now open to the idea after seeing things from her perspective.

The post Starmer Would Say Yes to Assisted Dying in the UK If Elected first appeared on Pulse365.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rupert Rivett.

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