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Conservative candidate challenges opponents to reconsider support for assisted suicide

Campaigners against assisted dying gather outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of a House of Commons vote which rejected the legislation in September 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

A Conservative parliamentary candidate has reaffirmed his opposition to assisted suicide, and called on his opponents to reconsider their positions.

Bob Seely, an Isle of Wight County Councillor, argued his case at a hustings at the Isle of Wight County Press and IW Radio Hustings on 25 May. His opponents in the race for a seat, Nick Belfitt (Lib Dem), Julian Critchley (Labour), and Vix Lowthion (Green), all support a change to the law to allow assisted suicide.

In a statement issued after the hustings, Mr Seely said: “A change in the law would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional, or care burden upon others.

“We need to care for all those that are living, not create a climate which indirectly pressures them to end their existence.”

Mr Seely added: “This issue is too important for party politics, and I had hoped to see a greater consensus amongst the Island’s parliamentary candidates.

“I would strongly encourage the other candidates to read the persuasive case set out on the Care Not Killing website and reflect on whether they wish to change their stance.”

A YouGov poll, conducted for the Sunday Times in 2014, found that 56 per cent of the public would consider assisted suicide if it were legal and they were suffering a painful and incurable disease. Only 21 per cent ruled the practice out completely.

Bob Seely, a former Army officer, He is a Research Associate at Oxford University’s Changing Character of War Programme, and is doing a PhD at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London.