Assisted Dying

Thank you for getting in touch.

Assisted dying is an issue with which I have wrestled for some time. Having given the matter much thought, and recently experienced the slow painful death of a member of my own family, I have decided to support the assisted dying bill that will be brought before the House in September.

I have been careful to try and hear all the arguments however. Recently for example I attended a mass meeting held by disability groups in Parliament to lobby against the bill and I have canvassed opinion from those involved in end-of-life care and those with degenerative conditions such as MS, as well as discussing the issue with colleagues at Westminster and reading all the letters and emails sent by constituents alongside numerous articles.

I have come to the view that it is my right to decide the time, place and manner of my own death, and as long as I can prove myself capable of taking that decision in the absence of coercion before a judge, then I should be allowed to seek assistance in ending my own life.

It is worth pointing out that the proposed legislation is very narrowly drawn. It will only apply to terminally patients with no more than six months to live and who have demonstrated to a High Court Judge a “clear and settled intention” to end their lives. Only after certification by two doctors as to the terminal nature of their illness would they be prescribed a lethal dose of drugs.

I realise that there are many people with strong convictions on both sides of this debate and I have great respect for the beliefs of those whose conviction is other than mine, but I feel it is better to be clear about my thoughts in advance of the bill coming forward.