I agree with Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd and the Commission on Justice in Wales and believe that powers to control justice and policing should be devolved to the Senedd.

A particularly compelling reason to do so would be to enable the Senedd to address one of our worst injustices here in Wales: the prohibition of assisted dying.

Perhaps it was because I grew up in Switzerland, where this is legal, in a family where we are scientists and understand this is inevitable at this time or it is my liberal beliefs but one thing is clear to me: Wales needs to reopen the discussion on assisted dying.

There is vast evidence to support a change in the law which would allow adults of sound mind, who are either terminally ill or facing incurable suffering, the option of an assisted death; subject to robust safeguards. Not doing so is hurtful for Wales, with many families fighting for the right to assisted dying.

The Senedd’s inability to determine the legality of assisted dying puts it at odds with other devolved administrations across the United Kingdom. In Wales and England, assisted dying is prohibited under the Suicide Act (1961).

Although assisted dying reform, for both those who are terminally ill or facing incurable suffering, is overwhelmingly favoured in both Wales and England, it is important to note that a NatCen 2019 poll found that whilst 88 per cent of people in England favoured assisted dying for the incurably suffering, in some circumstances this increased to 93 per ecnt when respondents were asked from Wales.


We need to survey the Welsh population on this, but with this falling in line with the trend across the UK nations, this is clearly a topic Wales should legislate on in a devolved way.

Often Wales looks to Scotland and this should be no exception, as the Scottish Parliament is considering legislation on medical aid in dying (MAID) for the first time since 2015. Once again, we need justice and policing to be devolved to our Senedd.

Part of our care system should be end-of-life care. The Senedd’s inability to determine the legality of assisted dying risks undermining the overall effectiveness of end-of-life care.

Palliative medicine does not work for everyone as an end-of-life care and so Wales should have the right to propose other options in a safe and controlled way. The prohibition of assisted dying in England and Wales seems to have a disproportionate impact on Wales.

Firstly, the proportion of people who travel from Wales to Switzerland for an assisted death is one of the fastest growing demographics; and since 2014 the number of people who make this one way trip from Wales has more than doubled.

Secondly, taking Wales’ population relative to that of the United Kingdom, there have been multiple years where those who leave the UK to have an assisted death have disproportionately resided in Wales.

Wales must take a leading clear position on legal, safe, and compassionate assisted dying for the incurably suffering and terminally ill.

The current law not only allows Westminster to hold on to these life changing powers but feeds the misconception that assisted dying is anything else but a key element of end-of-life care. Finally, we cannot support a system that disproportionately impacts upon people living in Wales.

The first step is to ensure that the Senedd requests for Westminster to devolve justice, then we can work further on assisted dying here in Wales.

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