The island is on track to become the first place in the British Isles to introduce assisted dying for terminal ill adults who have a ‘clear and settled’ intention to end their life.

Dr Alex Allinson, the government Minster, Ramsey MHK and GP behind the private member’s bill said it is feasible that Royal Assent could be granted in 2025 and assisted dying made available as early as 2027.

The Bill proposes that the option of assisted dying should be available as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults, subject to strict safeguards. 

Those who choose to go down this path would need to have been a resident in the island for five years under an amendment suggested by a House of Keys committee which has been considering the clauses of Dr Allinson’s bill. Ramsey MHK and GP Dr Allinson was given leave to introduce his private member’s bill in May 2022 and in an historic vote last October MHKs voted 17 to 11 give it a second reading.

He said: ‘I will be intending to move to the clauses stage in May.

‘If successful this would mean we could conclude the third reading ahead of the summer recess and then the Legislative Council could consider the Bill later this year.

‘It is feasible this could lead to Royal Assent being granted in 2025 which would make us the first jurisdiction in the British Isles to have such legislation.

Dr Alex Allinson (Media Isle of MAN)

‘There will need to be an implementation period of up to two years to enable the secondary legislation to be written and introduced, training, support, education and guidelines to be introduced so I do not envisage a working provision to be available before 2027.’

A House of Keys committee was set up to consider the practical application of the clauses of the bill and has now published its report.

‘It suggests amendments to ensure that a legal and safe choice for terminally ill Manx citizens can be as robust as possible.

Its report notes: ‘The topic of assisted dying is both a complex and sensitive one, with a diverse range of perspectives and approaches.

Notable among the committee’s suggested amendments is that those applying for an assisted death must have been resident in the Isle of Man for five years, rather than one year as outlined in Dr Allinson’s Bill and that their terminal illness must have a prognosis of 12 months rather than six months.

The committee report will be debated in the Keys before the Bill moves on to the clauses stage, where all MHKs can debate each clause, hear further evidence from external experts and put forward any amendments.

Dr Allinson, who is Treasury Minister, said: ‘October’s historic vote demonstrated the overwhelming support for our Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Keys – a reflection of the many years of local campaigning.

‘Other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and numerous American States, have proven that assisted dying can be legislated for safely, alongside access to high quality end-of-life care and with robust protections for the whole of society.

‘Now we must continue with the task of getting this right for our own community in the Isle of Man.’

Sue Biggerstaff, of Ballabeg, whose husband Simon suffered a painful death from an aggressive form of motor neurone disease in May, is among those campaigning for a change in the law.

She said: ‘I am pleased that the legalisation of assisted dying in the Isle of Man has moved a step closer. I know my husband Simon would have chosen assisted dying if it was an option for him. ‘ A bill on assisted dying for terminally ill adults in Scotland was introduced in Holyrood this week.

Assisted dying proposals is due to be debated by Jersey’s States Assembly in May.