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Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 9:49 am on 11th September 2015.

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Photo of Rob Marris Rob Marris Labour, Wolverhampton South West 9:49 am, 11th September 2015

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I thank all Members for giving up their constituency Friday to take part in this debate. I also thank Lord Falconer, who was the original author of the Bill, and Dignity in Dying—I have never been a member, but it has given me assistance on the Bill. I would also like Members to pass on my thanks to their staff, who have been dealing with quite a large volume of correspondence in many constituencies. Now we have got that vote out of the way, I hope that today will see Parliament at its best, with an open debate and a free vote on a matter of conscience.

I will take interventions, but, as you have requested, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will take very few because so many hon. Members wish to speak. So that hon. Members have some idea of where I am going and when I may address particular issues of interest to them, let me say that my speech is in three parts. I will start with the context of the debate, move on briefly to the content of the Bill and then seek to address the concerns that many people have raised with me.

The context is that the current law does not meet the needs of the terminally ill, does not meet the needs of their loved ones and, in some ways, does not meet the needs of the medical profession. We have amateur suicides and what is technically illegal assistance going on, and those who have the means to do so are going off to Dignitas in Switzerland. In the Tony Nicklinson case, the Supreme Court recognised that there is a problem that needs to be addressed by Parliament.