Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan have revealed that they made a suicide pact in case one of them becomes terminally ill.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the television presenters said they had been considering the issue after the death of Madeley's mother last month.
He said: “If Judy was really ill and in logical mind, and at that point where you just need a little push to go over the edge I wouldn't give a tuppenny f*** if there was a risk of being prosecuted. I'd do what was right for my wife. And I'd take the consequences. That is your job, that is your responsibility as a partner.”
Finnigan, his wife, said she would do the same, adding: “Stuff it all! We’ve made ourselves give each other a pledge along those lines.”
Madeley continued: “Yeah, if, when the time came, and I was administering the morphine or whatever, and Judy said to me, 'But what about you? What about the risk of prosecution?’, I’d say, 'That’s my problem, I’ll deal with that, don’t worry about it.’ And for me, it would be the locked room, the bottle of whisky and the revolver. I wouldn’t want to mess around.”
The couple became household names after presenting This Morning on ITV for 13 years before moving to their own show, Richard & Judy, on Channel 4.
Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for the anti-euthanasia group Care not Killing, criticised their comments.
“The problem is it runs the risk of normalising suicide and suicide pacts and as we know, that’s something the World Health Organisation and the Samaritans issue clear guidance about,” he said.
“When Richard and Judy talk about this issue they are just two people but the much bigger issue is maintaining hospice care.”
The organisation opposes any changes in the law to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia while promoting better palliative care.
A spokesman for an opposing group, Dignity in Dying, which campaigns to legalise assisted suicide, declined to comment on Richard and Judy’s stance.
He said: “Dying people should not have to suffer against their wishes at the end of life, and neither should loved ones be forced into a position where they have to break the law to help them die.
“The law needs to change to provide choice and greater protection for both.”
It remains a criminal offence carrying up to 14 years in prison to help someone to take their life, although prosecution guidance means anyone acting out of compassion is unlikely to be charged.
The Assisted Dying Bill, which would allow terminally ill adults to legally have help to end their lives, is due to be debated at the House of Lords later this year.