MP pushes for law change to aid assisted dying

A Liberal Democrat MP is calling on parliament to change the law to allow assisted dying for the terminally ill with safeguards.

Photograph: Paul Starr
Photograph: Paul Starr

Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon) spoke after the Court of Appeal last week rejected Debbie Purdy’s request that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) provide guidance on his policy in respect of relatives of the terminally ill who help their loved ones get to Switzerland, where a dignified assisted death is legal.

Dr Harris said: ‘The DPP has never found a basis for prosecution in over 100 cases of assisted dying – including one where the patient was not even terminally ill – so it is time for parliament to remove the doubt which makes an upsetting situation even more traumatic.

‘The current law is made impotent by the apparent policy of non-prosecution, but cruel by the virtue of its existence, so should be changed.’

A GP newspaper poll this month found that two-fifths of GPs would like to see assisted suicide legalised.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

  • Should the law on assisted dying be changed?

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