Edinburgh MP Christine Jardine in call for national debate on assisted dying law

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has called for a review of the law on assisted dying and a national debate on the issue.

She claimed public opinion had changed and pointed to the recent referendum in New Zealand which had overwhelmingly backed allowing the option for those who are terminally ill.

A cross-party group of MSPs is expected to bring a fresh Bill to Holyrood after next year’s elections.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And at Westminster, Ms Jardine joined in questioning of UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on the issue, urging the government to recognise the need to respond to research showing that more than 80 per cent of people support the idea that someone in the later stages of a terminal illness should have the right to decide how they die.

Christine Jardine is calling for a national debateChristine Jardine is calling for a national debate
Christine Jardine is calling for a national debate

Ms Jardine said: “We need a national debate to bring some compassion to a situation which, sadly, many people face at the end of their lives where they know that a decision to die in the way that they choose means an expensive trip to Switzerland and the risk of anyone who helps them being criminalised.

“There needs to be a review of the current law to decriminalise assisted dying and bring some compassion into the law and to respond to the change in public opinion.”

Answering a series of questions from MPs on the issue, Mr Hancock said it was a matter of conscience and the government remained neutral.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But he said: “I think it is absolutely reasonable for this House to have a conversation and discussion on what is an important topic, and it is right that we locate that question within a broader discussion of how we care for people at the end of their lives.”

Ms Jardine led a debate on assisted dying at Westminster earlier this year. After Mr Hancock’s answer, she said: “I appreciate that the government wants to remain neutral on an issue of conscience, but as elected representatives we have a duty to make sure that we are where the majority of the public wants us to be so we should be debating this issue within parliament.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.