12 Jul 2014

Assisted dying – will Lord Carey’s U-turn change the debate?

“The fact is I have changed my mind.”

A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg

Those are the deceptively simple but explosive words from the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, as he reveals his extraordinary about-turn on the issue of the right to die.

Going against the official position of his own church, Lord Carey says he is now in favour of legalising assisted dying.

It would not be “anti-Christian” to change the law, he said. However, the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby takes a very different view. In an article in today’s (£) Times, he says he understands the arguments of those who believe the right to die is the only “truly compassionate response” society can offer, but he warned that however well-intentioned a view, it was “both mistaken and dangerous, quite literally, lethally so”.

With the assisted dying bill due to be debated on Friday, what impact will Lord Carey’s controversial intervention make?

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