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Switzerland has announced plans to crack down on so-called ‘suicide tourism’ by signalling that it might close the Dignitas clinic that has helped hundreds of terminally ill people to end their lives.

The plans, in the form of two draft Bills that will be offered for public debate, are likely to set off a rush of patients from Britain and elsewhere in Europe since Switzerland has become the main destination for those seeking assisted suicide.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the Justice Minister, said that two options would be presented to parliament: either clinics such as Dignitas and Exit, which deals chiefly with Swiss patients, will have to accept much stricter regulation or they will be closed down.

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