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Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 1:27 pm on 11th September 2015.

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Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster 1:27 pm, 11th September 2015

So much has been said by those who, like me, oppose the Bill, and we have heard some profound and personal stories, so I do not want to go over all that ground.

Fundamentally, I believe that the way in which any society looks after its most disabled, most vulnerable and the elderly says something about it. I fundamentally worry that we are starting down a path of saying, in essence, that the lives of those who are profoundly disabled and who are getting old and are a burden are worth less than those of others. That is an incredibly dangerous path to go down.

I am a former lawyer, albeit a rather less distinguished lawyer than Keir Starmer, whom I first came across in a college library in Oxford about 30 years ago. I am now a legislator and I profoundly believe that the law’s empire should not be extended into this highly contentious sphere. We should let common sense prevail. Perhaps we are living in a much more litigious society. That is regrettable in many ways, because we need to let guidelines cover the ground that perhaps the former Director of Public Prosecutions was reluctant to cover. I think it is fair to say that close friends and relatives of those who are terminally ill instinctively know the wishes and desires of their nearest and dearest. They should be protected by compassionate understanding rather than by delusory legal safeguards.

I am not a terribly religious person and I certainly do not stand behind many of the religious aspects that influence many colleagues who have spoken, but when all is fundamentally said and done, I instinctively believe that to support assisted dying or euthanasia is simply wrong.