Candidates looking to become the next Southampton Test MP have given their considered thoughts on the subject of assisted dying.

There is an ongoing campaign to change the law in the United Kingdom.

Both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have previously made commitments to give time in the House of Commons to debate assisted dying in the next parliament and to give MPs a free vote.

The Conservative Party manifesto says the will of parliament on the subject will be respected.

Support for a change in the law is in the Green Party manifesto, while the Liberal Democrats have said they would give time to fully debate and vote on assisted dying for adults with terminal illnesses who are mentally competent, subject to it being a free vote.

Labour’s manifesto and Reform UK’s policy document do not mention assisted dying.

Candidates in Southampton Test were asked to explain how they would vote in parliament during a question time hustings event at St James’ by the Park in Shirley on June 25.

Conservative candidate Ben Burcombe-Filer said it was a “very, very emotive issue”.

He said he worried about the “slippery slope”, referencing examples of people being offered euthanasia in Canada, while on the flip side, he had seen relatives and friends suffer with horrible pain.

Mr Burcombe-Filer said: “I think it is a really, really difficult balance to strike and I think I would have to look at the mechanics of the bill and the safeguards and the provisions before I decided how I would vote on any new assisted dying law because the devil really is in the detail.”

Katherine Barbour, Green Party candidate, said she had been written to a lot about the issue and her personal view was “God decides when we die”.

She said: “I would go into the debate and listen to all of the evidence that people are presenting on it and what the plans were for it but also would want to get a range of views from yourselves, the constituents here in Southampton Test and then vote based on learning that information from the different people who present it and also yourselves, what the majority of people here in Test feel about this issue.”

Labour’s Satvir Kaur said she “completely understands” the strong beliefs on both sides of the argument. She said personally she could not do it.

She said: “If I was to support a change in the law, I would want the strongest safeguards in place and for me, at the moment there is just too much room for manipulation and a chance of something going wrong because if something went wrong it’s not like someone could appeal it.

“The cost of error is so great that at this stage I wouldn’t be able to support it.”

Thomas Gravatt, Liberal Democrat, said he supported a change in the law in situations for adults with terminal illnesses who were mentally competent, with very strict safeguards in place.

“I believe that everyone should have control over their own lives and the ability to operate in society without state interference,” he said.

“Now I think this does apply at the end of your life as well and I know from conversations I have had with friends and families and even people on the doorstep with terminal illnesses who are just waiting for the last thing to take their life, be it an infection, they just want a bit of control, a bit of dignity at the end of their life.”

Reform UK’s John Edwards said he personally would not want to be kept alive on medical equipment later in life but he expressed concerns about the protections in place with any new law.

“I don’t think at this particular junction in time I can say yes I would support assisted dying because it takes away freedom of choice,” Mr Edwards said.

He also said he worried about manipulation and pushing people towards ending their lives.

Mr Edwards said: “I remain open-minded but I lean towards the status quo.”

The hustings event featured the five candidates from the parties which are currently polling the highest.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate Maggie Fricker and Workers Party candidate Wajahat Shaukat were invited to make a two-minute statement at the end of the question time session.