James Mildred was speaking after Labour’s newly appointed shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander said in an interview with the Mirror that she supports assisted dying.

Mr Mildred told Premier that there would be ‘many Christians up and down the country who will be disappointed and perhaps a little surprised’ by Ms Alexander’s position.

Mr Mildred asked, ‘Why is it that the shadow health secretary has given her first newspaper interview and chosen to come out so favourably for a Bill that’s just been defeated?’

He said the news about Ms Alexander was proof ‘this issue is not simply going to go away’.

The issue of assisted dying has divided Christians, with Lord Carey supporting a change in the law and one poll showing as many as 80% of Christians agreeing with his position. Other faith leaders including Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby are against any changes to the current law.

Writing on the Premier Christianity blog, Peter Saunders from the Christian Medical Fellowship highlighted that proposals in favour of assisted dying have been rejected by British Parliaments 11 times in the past 12 years.