Assisted Dying July 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently concerning assisted dying.

I voted in favour of the Assisted Dying Bill which was debated in Parliament last year. Therefore, I was disappointed that the Bill was defeated 330-118 and therefore did not progress any further in Parliament.

I believe that every terminally ill person, regardless of their background, should be given the chance to decide when to end their life, provided there are sufficient safeguards. However, I appreciate that this is a very sensible issue for many people and we need to respect that this time around a majority of MPs did not supported the Bill. But there is a disconnection between the public and MPs: about 70% of the public support but about 70% of MPs oppose. I believe that this issue will return to the House of Parliament and will be debated again.

I know that California has recently passed the End of Life Option Bill which gives people choice to end their life. I believe that we can learn lessons from California about how to pass legislation regarding such a sensitive issue.

I also believe that much more needs to be done to improve care for those with terminal illnesses, and to support carers who provide essential care to people at the end of life. This, along with earlier and faster diagnosis of terminal conditions, would also help improve patients’ quality of life at this extremely difficult time.

 

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.