The EU Directive published today on the right to die places the EU Commission on a direct collision course with the Council of Europe, which is still, in its European Convention on Human Rights, rather sold on the outdated notion of humans having a so-called “right to life” (Article 2).
The right to life is incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998. Because today’s Directive has direct applicability, the right to die established in today’s Directive is directly incorporated into UK law, with immediate effect, by the European Communities Act 1972. This is an Act, which, as the late Master of the Rolls Lord Denning observed, Parliament may not have the freedom to repeal that it imagined it would have, when it passed the Act, even if UKIP gets elected to power.
As from today, therefore, without Parliament having to lift a legislative finger to implement the EU provision, the new British right to die now sits uncomfortably alongside the old British right to stay alive.