Author Archives: Alastair Gordon

Assisted Dying

The Party has a proud record of taking the lead in Parliament on socially liberal issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, and we should be doing the same on assisted dying. It is now eight years since Conference passed a motion in favour of this, but I have seen no sign of any follow-up action. Ed Davey, our new Leader, has made great play with the need to listen to the public and act on their concerns. Well, assisted dying is a case in point. The public’s support for changing the law to permit assisted dying has been rising steadily, and in the last five years, polls have shown it at over 80%. Let’s listen to that.

It is not just that the public is massively supportive. The main opposition has also been crumbling. The medical profession is coming round, with Paul Cosford, the former medical director of Public Health England, is the latest to show support, and on the religious front two former Archbishops, George Carey and Desmond Tutu, are among those who have spoken out in favour. The recent book ‘Last Rights’ has described in detail the kind of deaths that people have to face in the absence of law change – over 6,000 people a year are dying in pain and without dignity. How long are we going to go on condemning people to suffer unnecessarily like this? Palliative care has made great advances but cannot help in every case. I have been assisting the campaign personally for nearly ten years, spurred on by my wife’s Parkinson’s disease.

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