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The House of Lords in the UK has voted to stall a controversial bill to allow doctors to help terminally-ill patients end their lives.

The Assisted Dying Bill would let doctors prescribe, but not administer, lethal drugs to patients who are suffering unbearably and have less than six months to live.

Peers have voted 148 to 100 to back an amendment which blocked the bill.

Further debate depends on Lord Joel Joffe, the bill’s sponsor, bidding for
more parliamentary time to be devoted to the bill.

Lord Joffe, a human rights lawyer, told the Lords that patients should not have to endure unbearable pain “for the good of society as a whole”.

The bill is unlikely to become law but the issue has provoked a polarised debate in the Lords. (Reuters news agency)

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