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Emotive debate over legally-assisted suicide splits county MPs

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: September 24, 2012

HERE AT LAST: From left, Paul Lacy, construction manager Willmott Dixon, David Owen, chair of governors, Jan Scott, principal, Cllr Jim Hunt, chair of Brockworth parish council, and John Boughton, deputy managing director Willmott Dixon.

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MPs across Gloucestershire are split over whether or not to legalise assisted suicide.

According to a new poll, the majority of Parliamentarians are against making assisted dying legal with more than seven out of 10 refusing to back calls for such legislation.

The poll of 150 MPs from all parties also found just 29 per cent backed moves to change the law.

Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham (LD), said he was "strongly in favour" of legally assisted suicide, but stressed the need for "strong safeguards".

He said: "I am sensitive to the views of constituents on the ethics of this issue, but my position is strongly influenced by my father's experience when he was terminally ill.

"I think that when we get to the end of life, the decision should be left in the hands of the patient and not the doctor."

However, Mr Horwood said he was "less happy" with euthanasia in cases where the person involved was unable to communicate.

Gloucester's MP Richard Graham said: "There are no easy yes/no answers to the issue, and significant hazards to consider.

"We can all think of people – perhaps family members – who might have been grateful for the option: and at the same time the potential unintentional consequence of making old or sick people feel guilty about living is enormous."

Geoffrey Clifton Brown, MP for the Cotswolds (C), said: "My natural instance is to be extremely cautious in this area.

"I entirely understand both sides of this argument.

"However, I would be extremely concerned if any change in legislation had the effect of either leading people to conclude they were becoming a burden on their family and, therefore, ought to consider assisted suicide or, worse still, members of the family putting pressure on someone to consider this option."

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  • LordGagas  |  September 25 2012, 9:06PM

    Nick Cleg is comming suicide

  • valhalla2010  |  September 25 2012, 11:33AM

    Lecorche- Don't you understand that only politicians can make such decisions! The opinions of the likes of us are not relevant- we should continue doing as we are told and not question!

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  • Lecorche  |  September 25 2012, 11:17AM

    Let us Plebs hold a Referendum on this. It's only democratic on an issue this important and far too important to let politicians decide.

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  • honslknjklyt  |  September 25 2012, 1:39AM

    Dick Graham getting off the fence! Now there would be a story for the new look TIG, might even make it to page 7.

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  • jayne80  |  September 24 2012, 11:36AM

    I think if you have a loved one who is in constant pain and anguish (think its spelt correct) and there is no cure and they are in sound enough mind to make decisions for themselvesthey ask for this then i beleive its their right but only after having counselling first to make sure they completely understand the aftermath

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  • EllJay1  |  September 24 2012, 11:06AM

    I've got it - it's the "Super-lab" story. Good old TIG, you've done it again.

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  • EllJay1  |  September 24 2012, 10:53AM

    TIG - What is the photograph about?

    |   4
  • Bonkim2003  |  September 24 2012, 9:03AM

    People should have choices in a free country.

    |   5
  • SandraPee  |  September 24 2012, 8:51AM

    Who conducted this poll ? Seven out of ten parliamentarians refusing to bad calls for a change in legislation . How does this compare with the general public's views/wishes ? I too can see both sides of this discussion , but, when you see a loved one facing what has been or will be a long period of being extremely poorly , not knowing who or what things are and relying on help from others 24/7 surely they have a right to be able to choose for themselves, where possible, how and when they'd like to bow out gracefully ? Maybe in the form of a legal document, drawn up before things go into a downward spiral . Yes, of course safeguards should be put in place , but I think the time has come to change the law . If not, I think there will be more and more people heading for Switzerland . Very sad, but true .

    |   7