Alliance would allow a free vote on euthanasia, says Ford

Alliance leader David Ford
Alliance leader David Ford

Alliance would not take a stance on any future legislation to allow for assisted dying or euthanasia, leader David Ford has said.

Speaking to the News Letter ahead of his party’s annual conference in the Castlereagh hills on Saturday, Mr Ford said that the party would not take a stance on the issue, which is currently being debated by the House of Lords and is likely to be raised in the next Parliament.

He said: “To the best of my knowledge we have never had any formal discussion in the party about that, but I can’t see that it would be anything other than the same issue of conscience.

“I think there are huge ethical dilemmas about any proposal for...euthanasia.”

Mr Ford also said that his party wanted to see a moratorium on any changes to flag-flying policy for the new councils until the proposed Commission on Flags and Identity reports in 18 months from whenever it is established. But he said that if the issue was raised in the new councils his party would take the position of supporting the Union Flag flying on designated days right across the Province.

When asked if he would consider taking Alliance into opposition once new Stormont structures to allow for opposition are created in coming months, Mr Ford said: “I’ve always made it clear that we will take our opportunities in the Executive as long as I believe that Northern Ireland is in a better place with Alliance ministers in the Executive than not”, adding that at this stage he believes Alliance is right to stay in the Executive.