A bold move by the Dr Alex Allinson (Ramsey) to move the island towards legalising assisted dying was thwarted by Tynwald this week.

Dr Allinson had sought agreement that ’Tynwald is of the opinion that legislation to allow for voluntary assisted dying should be introduced’.

However, with MHKs lining up to either reject his motion or seek to amend it, it became clear that Dr Allinson did not have the same support he had when bringing through his private member’s Bill for the Abortion Reform Act.

Dr Allinson opened the debate by highlighting medical advances and the excellent end of life care that is available in the island but also focused on a person’s autonomy and being allowed to choose how to die.

He added: ’Hospice Isle of Man provides respite and in-patient care as well as invaluable support for patients and their families, a comprehensive hospice at home scheme and community nurses who can help coordinate the care of people throughout their journey.

’This care and expertise extends to Noble’s Hospital where staff have developed rapid discharge schemes to respect the wishes of those who want to die at home where MEDS can provide out-of-hours medical care and advice.

’But perhaps it is because our palliative care services are so advanced that people recognise the need to go further. For those with terminal illness where their symptoms cannot be adequately treated, could we as a society do more?

’Could we allow someone the personal dignity and choice to decide when and where they die?’

Dr Allinson explained to members how he viewed a system working on the island working and how safeguards to protect the vulnerable could be introduced.

Throughout the debate, which continued over several hours, most members of Tynwald presented their reasoning for support or opposition to the motion.

Such was the nature of the debate, David Ashford (Douglas North) said that he was speaking as an MHK and not as Health and Social Care Minister.

He noted that the issue is a ’complex and emotive subject’ and didn’t want to see a decision made about it during this sitting of Tynwald.

Mr Ashford also put forward an amendment which changed Dr Allinson’s motion to state that Tynwald noted the debate, leaving the door open for a future debate and possible further efforts to introduce such legislation.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said: ’We’ve been asked if we have an appetite for assisted dying and I’ll put my marker down now and say no I have no appetite for this motion.’

Mr Quayle added that the Isle of Man Medical Society has said it will opposes any attempts to introduce assisted dying and that ’85% of working Manx doctors would not be prepared to offer assisted dying in any way’.

Lord Bishop Peter Eagles said that Tynwald members had ’the opportunity to frame a debate and consultation’ on how the issue would be addressed with the wider public and told MHKs and MLCs that they have ’a duty to cultivate knowledge’.

Bishop Eagles added that ’this is different to euthanasia’. However he warned that unlike abortion where the island was playing catch up with British laws, it would be ’put at odds with Westminster and most of the rest of the world’.

Daphne Caine (Garff) praised Dr Allinson for bringing the debate to Tynwald, noting that he ’doesn’t shy away from the controversial subjects’. Mrs Caine said in her 2016 manifesto that she supported assisted dying for the terminally ill under controlled circumstances.

She added: ’I still have that view. However legislation should only be progressed if it is indeed wanted by our community.’

Members unanimously voted to support Mr Ashford’s amendment to note the debate, leaving proponents of assisted dying with a decision to make on whether to try another push before next year’s general election or keep their powder dry for the new administration that will form in about 18 months’ time.