George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out about why he supports assisted dying.

This week, he came to the island to talk to MHKs on the matter.

Archbishop Carey said: ‘I have been a priest for over 60 years and spent almost 12 of those as the Archbishop of Canterbury, steeped in matters of life and death.

‘As the Isle of Man prepares for a historic debate on assisted dying, I hope I can contribute constructively to these discussions and correct some common misunderstandings.

‘Strong personal faith and support for choice at the end of life are not mutually exclusive.

‘In fact, I support the legalisation of assisted dying because of my religious beliefs, not in spite of them.

‘And I know I am far from alone.

‘I wasn’t always in favour of changing the law, speaking out strongly against an assisted dying bill in 2006 as a member of the House of Lords.

‘But over time I began to realise that giving dying people choice over their death is the right, compassionate and, indeed, the Christian thing to do.

‘I have met so many heartbroken people who have told me of relatives begging for their lives to end but the law refusing their request’, he added.

‘Without any question there exists for some people at the end of life untreatable and agonising pain; pain that even the most expert and well-funded palliative care cannot help.

‘To those who say “life is sacred and we must never take it away” - what if a person is dying anyway in terrible agony and they have expressed their wish to die?

‘If assisted dying means saving a terminally ill person from spending their final weeks in such distress, then I support a change in the law wholeheartedly.

‘This week I met with MHKs in the Isle of Man to share my perspective on assisted dying.

‘I was heartened to hear that many supported law reform, knowing as I do that without an assisted dying law, terminally ill people suffer.’

The second reading of Alex Allinson’s Assisted Dying Bill 2023 is set to take place in the House of Keys on Tuesday (October 31).

Archbishop Carey added; ‘The public, whether they are religious or not, no matter who they vote for, how old they are or where they live, support this Bill.

‘When MHKs come to vote on it next week, I urge them to answer these calls for compassion.’