The government will refuse to do any work on the legalization of euthanasia

Ministers will refuse to consult or call for evidence on weakening assisted suicide laws in order to give a boost to lawmakers who do not want a law change, The Telegraph can reveal.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who is in charge of policy, has made it clear that the government will not do any work on legalizing euthanasia.

The news comes after The Telegraph revealed that Matt Hancock, the Secretary of Health, wrote to the ONS chief statistician asking for figures on the number of people with terminal illnesses who kill themselves each year , in a movement that was seen as opening the door to legalizing assisted suicide.

However, a high-level source at the Justice Department said: “The government has no position on this. We don’t intend to consult or ask for any evidence or anything on this matter. “

Instead, ministers want to allow MPs to vote freely on the issue first and then use it to guide the government on the need for legislation.

The ministers would also be happy to see the special committee on health or the special committee on justice gather evidence on the matter.

The same source said: “This is a matter for Parliament. This is truly a question on which Members of Parliament, their conscience and members of the Lords must vote accordingly. “

It is understood that Buckland believes the guidelines issued by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2010 “strike the right balance”.

The source added: “You don’t see loving couples ending up with the surviving couple in court. It does not happen.

“We don’t choose to be born, we don’t choose the time of death, and once you start to value someone’s life, you take things to a new dimension.”

Previous attempts by MPs and peers, including Lord Falconer of Thoroton in 2014, who was Lord Chancellor of Tony Blair’s Labor government, have failed to win the support of Parliament.

In 2014 then Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “not convinced that further action needed to be taken” and feared that “people would be pushed into things they didn’t want. not for themselves “.

Last month, members of an all-party To Die Well caucus wrote to Mr Buckland urging him not to weaken the law on whether people can legally be helped to die.

Tory MP Danny Kruger, chairman of the group, which held its first meeting of 50 MPs last week, said: “It is right that the government is wary of any move in this direction – there are many reasons for s ‘worry about any weakening of the law.

“Instead of legalizing assisted suicide, we should invest in a proper system of palliative care.”

However, Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative Cabinet minister who chairs the all-party pro-assisted suicide caucus for end-of-life choice, added: “The ONS figures will show that a big many people who commit suicide are terminally ill.

“They are trying to end their own life, they cannot afford to go to Switzerland, there is no change in the law so far and therefore they determine that they have no no choice but to end their own life – sometimes under horrific circumstances.

“The government is of course neutral – it’s up to us, as members of the House of Commons, to decide and vote on what is a matter of conscience.”

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