Dame Esther Rantzen, the broadcaster who founded the charities Childline and The Silver Line, announced on Radio 4’s The Today podcast that she had joined the assisted dying centre Dignitas. Dame Esther is currently undergoing treatment for stage four lung cancer.
Esther Rantzen was described in the podcast as a giant force in the land.
Prominent Labour MP Darren Jones has told reporters that assisted dying “should be debated” and he believes a debate will happen “sooner rather than later”. The comments were made in the light of several prominent public figures supporting the right to choose. Jones is Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and was the Chair of the Business and Trade Select Committee. He made the comments to Kate Burley during a discussion about Dame Esther Rantzen’s recent comment on assisted dying.
There has not been a vote on assisted dying since 2015. The most recent attempt to change the law ended when the bill ran out of time in 2021. There are currently no votes or debates expected on this topic in this parliamentary term.
Avengers and Game of Thrones star Diana Rigg recently made headlines when she made an impassioned case to legalise assisted dying in a message recorded shortly before her death. The message was released by her daughter.
The Health and Social Care Committee is currently running an inquiry into assisted dying. It was due to publish its findings this year, but due to the debate around the report, it is likely to be published early in 2024.
Progress on assisted dying legislation is being made in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Each jurisdiction is due to debate the issue next year.
Claire Macdonald, Director of My Death, My Decision said:
“There’s a reason why so many prominent public figures have recently come out in support of legalising assisted dying. The current status quo in the UK is barbaric and forces individuals into impossible situations – suffer at home or flee abroad for death on your own terms.
Adults who are intolerably suffering from a physical condition that cannot be cured and have come to a clear and settled wish to die should be allowed that right. Diana Rigg should have had a choice and Esther Rantzen should not be forced abroad to exercise her right.”
Members of the MDMD team, as well as individuals affected by the current law on assisted dying, are available for interview upon request
For further comment or information, media should contact Nathan Stilwell at email@example.com or phone 07456200033.
My Death, My Decision is a grassroots campaign group that wants the law in England and Wales to allow mentally competent adults who are terminally ill or intolerably suffering from an incurable condition the option of a legal, safe, and compassionate assisted death. With the support of over 3,000 members and supporters, we advocate for an evidence-based law that would balance individual choice alongside robust safeguards and finally give the people of England and Wales choice at the end of their lives.
Read more about our work with the Assisted Dying Inquiry: https://www.mydeath-mydecision.org.uk/2023/07/13/our-summary-the-assisted-dying-inquiry/