Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Weekend Read: Parliament will debate assisted suicide legislation this year as a Private Members Bill

The Labour MP for Wolverhampton South West, Rob Marris, is to bring forward a Private Members Bill to address the issue of assisted suicide. He came first in the Private Members Bill ballot last week. He will, so the reports say, use the Bill pioneered in the House of Lords last year by Lord Falconer.

The proposals would allow patients thought to have no more than six months to live, and who had demonstrated a “clear and settled intention” to end their lives, to be prescribed a lethal dose of drugs on the authority of two doctors.
The report of the news is here:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11662127/MPs-to-be-given-historic-right-to-die-vote.html
Full details of the Falconer Bill are here: http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/assisted-dying/lord-falconers-assisted-dying-bill/
My stance on this issue is well known and was widely discussed at the constituency hustings at the last election but my views are set out here:
- http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/hexham-mp-guy-opperman-backs-4413760
and in the last parliamentary debate here:
- http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-03-27a.1373.0&s=assisted+suicide+speaker%3A24962#g1432.1

A few key points to add and to note: -
- This is a clearly very contentious issue.
- Private Members Bills rarely get through both houses of parliament unless there is universal support, so I believe that prospects of success are very limited.
- The matter was put to the PM on Wednesday at PMQs: he replied as follows: -
"On this issue I very much agree with my hon. Friend, which is that I do not support the assisted dying proposals that have come out of the other place. I do not support euthanasia. I know that there are imperfections and problems with the current law, but I think that these can be dealt with sensitively and sensibly without having a new law that actually brings in euthanasia. As she says, I think the problem is the pressure that is then put on frail, elderly people to take a decision that they might not want to go ahead with."

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