Last Friday when the House of Commons debated an Assisted Dying Bill Huw Merriman, Battle and Bexhill’s MP, gave an excellent speech in support of a second reading of the Bill explaining that the Bill was not for those with religious objections or those who had excellent palliative care but for the smaller number of people who wished to exercise the right to die earlier in their final six months: before they faded away in front of their family; before they enter a desperate period which they feel they cannot face; before they believe they will lose their dignity.
Andrew Slaughter, the then shadow justice minister said that the House ‘would be abdicating their responsibility’ by not passing this bill for detailed consideration of the arguments.
Many MPs opposing the Bill spoke of alleviating physical pain ignoring what many people fear ie the loss of dignity and some even talking about euthanasia which this is not!
The law at present is a fudge and even some in the House of Lords who disagreed with the Bill believed that it should be considered in greater detail rather than thrown out as the House of Commons did on Friday. Polls suggest that perhaps 80 per cent of the public are in favour of some form of assisted dying, but clearly many MPs are out of touch with public opinion.
I have been unable to ascertain whether Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, has any view on the subject.
Anyone who believes that the subject should be debated further may join Dignity in Dying whose address is 181 Oxford St London W1D 2JT 0207 479 7730.