Lord Carey: Assisted dying would be 'profoundly Christian and moral'

(Photo: Simon P Caldwell)

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out again in favour of assisted dying.

Lord Carey of Clifton admitted his friends were "very surprised" and "very disappointed" that he supported a change in the law. Most Christians and church leaders oppose strongly any move towards assisted dying.

Lord Carey said he was aware that the UK has one of the finest palliative care systems in the world, although people still do experience excruciating pain.

He also conceded that people are afraid such legislation might lead to vulnerable people being abused by cruel and greedy relatives.

He still defended a change in the law. "We can construct laws that are strong, that are resistant and I believe that the unintended consequence is a really bad way of opposing the bill."

He first revealed he supported assisted dying in July 2014.

He is speaking out again after another attempt to introduce legislation by Wolverhampton South West Labour MP Rob Marris whose private member's bill will go to a free vote on 11 September.

The present Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said he believes it would be "mistaken and dangerous" to allow assisted dying.

Lord Carey, speaking in a Dignity in Dying video released through Premier Christian Media, said: "To say that we are suffering with you is, in my view, a very poor argument indeed. There's nothing noble about excruciating pain and I think we need as a nation to give people the right to decide their own fate.

"In my view it is a profoundly Christian and moral thing to devise a law that enables people if they so choose to end their lives with dignity."

The Church of England said in a statement: "We believe that the Assisted Dying Bill has the potential to damage both the wellbeing of individuals and the nature and shape of our society.

"If enacted, the Assisted Dying Bill would put at risk many more vulnerable people than it seeks to help.

"Every person's life is of immeasurable value and ought to be affirmed, respected and cherished by society. This is true even when some people no longer view their own lives as being of any further value."