Assisted Dying

Part of Sale of New Petrol and Diesel Cars and Vans – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham 2:40 pm, 4th July 2019

I will be very brief. I pay tribute to Nick Boles for the eloquent way in which he has introduced this very important debate. I just want to refer to him one of my constituents, Mr Noel Conway, who has campaigned on this issue for many years, both through the courts and the media. I had the privilege of visiting him and his wife at their beautiful Shropshire home, where I spent the afternoon finding out about his daily life and how his wife is caring for him. As I am sure hon. Members will realise, it was an extraordinarily emotional afternoon, especially when I found out about some of the very difficult conditions my constituent is living under and the constant care that he needs.

I spoke to Mr Conway about the possibility of him travelling to Switzerland, and his answer will stay with me forever; he said, “No, I am an Englishman and I want to die in England.” I think that is extremely important, because although some constituents have the wherewithal, financial means and opportunities to travel to Switzerland to take things into their own hands, that is not always the case for all our constituents bearing in mind financial restrictions, but also the fact that some people do not want to leave our country to be able to die. This is their home; this where their families live; and this is where they want to die.

I have always been a Roman Catholic—having been born in Poland, I come from a very strict Roman Catholic family—and my Christian belief is very important to me, but I have disagreed with my own Church on numerous issues. As the right hon. Gentleman alluded to, in our views, the Church is not always right. Having now been in a same-sex partnership very happily for the past eight years, I, too, agree that although we can respect the church and our Christian beliefs, perhaps the Church does not always get everything right when it comes to how human beings behave, interact and ultimately decide to die.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for bringing this debate to the Chamber. I have not decided how I will vote in future debates and my constituent Mr Conway knows that I have not yet decided, but I really appreciate that the hon. Gentleman has afforded us this opportunity to continue debating this matter until a consensus can be achieved.