Rally outside Parliament as MPs to debate assisted dying

25 April, 2024

Humanists UK and My Death, My Decision (MDMD) will be holding a rally on Parliament Square on 29 April at 15:30 to show their support for assisted dying legislation for the terminally ill and the incurably suffering.

On Monday the House of Commons will be holding a Westminster Hall debate on assisted dying after an e-petition on the subject reached over 200,000 signatures. This debate is the latest in a series of developments on assisted dying across the UK. In Scotland an assisted dying bill was published last month, while both Jersey and the Isle of Man have taken steps towards assisted dying legislation.

The need for an assisted dying law for the terminally ill and incurably suffering is clear. A recent report from the Assisted Dying Coalition has shown the inequality in assisted dying due to the financial barriers many face travelling to Switzerland. More affluent regions such as Greater London dominate the number of people travelling for an assisted death.

The current status quo is harmful and the law needs to change. One of Humanists UK’s celebrants, Sue Lawford, was arrested at 5.30 am, put in a cell and held for 19 hours, and then subjected to a six-month police investigation, for escorting a woman to receive a medically assisted death in Switzerland. This is one of many examples of where individuals are left in a legal grey area, when clarity and compassion should be priorities.

The rally will take place at 15:30 on Monday 29 April on Parliament Square.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick said:

‘As Parliament convenes for a critical debate, spurred by a groundswell of over 200,000 signatures, our presence sends a clear message: the time for change is now. All across the UK, the demand for compassion in the face of terminal illness and incurable suffering is undeniable. This debate is an important step to moving towards a compassionate assisted dying law in England and Wales.’

Humanists UK supports assisted dying in the UK and crown dependencies for those who have made a clear decision, free from coercion, to end their lives and who are physically unable to do so themselves. Humanists UK supports this for people who are of sound mind and are either terminally ill or incurably suffering, and on the basis that there are robust safeguards. Humanists defend the right of each individual to live by their own personal values, and the freedom to make decisions about their own life so long as this does not result in harm to others. It is possible for an assisted dying law to enhance people’s freedoms in precisely this way.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick at press@humanists.uk or phone 07534 248 596.

Read more about our work on assisted dying.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.