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Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:23 pm on 11th September 2015.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education) 12:23 pm, 11th September 2015

It is fair to say that regardless of what people may expect of this Bill—we saw some mistakes in the contribution made by Keir Starmer—what it will do is not what most of the supporters of the Bill expect it to do. What it will do is generate certain very obvious risks, which have been well highlighted by other Members and so I will not go over them again. The risks are simply that the elderly and infirm will be pressured, doctors’ motives will be questioned or confused, palliative care will be progressed less and suicide will be seen as a solution more, and life will be treated more casually—more as a disposable commodity. The social consequences are, to say the least, incalculable; we cannot be certain about them. But even if there is just one poor old soul—and, strangely enough, it is usually the old who die—who, under pressure, seeks a quick dispatch, it does matter. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton South West could not rule out that possibility, and clearly recognised that that could be a consequence.

In conclusion, this week started for most of us with the haunting picture of a single child drowned on a beach. It was just one life and it affected the whole country. The consequence that can be drawn is that, as a civilisation, we cannot be casual about life without becoming a different sort of civilisation.