The most senior committee in Guernsey’s legislature has refused to back plans for assisted suicide, despite its own president proposing the idea.
The Policy and Resources Committee voted unanimously not to support the proposal, which has been submitted to the States – Guernsey’s parliament – by seven deputies. Gavin St Pier, who serves as president of the committee, has proposed the policy, but was recused from the vote.
Explaining their decision, the committee said the policy does not conform to their priorities and would likely drain resources from other areas given the complex legal issues involved.
The decision came as the island’s main disabilities group, the Guernsey Disability Alliance, said it was of “paramount importance” that the proposal to legalise assisted suicide was defeated.
The group said in a statement: “In the absence of a clear definition of assisted dying and clear specification of qualifying criteria, we have adopted a position against the requête [proposal] authorising the legalisation of assisted dying in Guernsey at this time on the basis of what we take to be factually warranted concerns about the preparedness of this jurisdiction for its implementation.
“We believe it is of paramount importance that the requête should be defeated.”
Guernsey, which has a population of 63,000, is a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel. It is not officially part of the United Kingdom and maintains its own legislature, however Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and the UK is responsible for most external affairs.