I believe we have a duty to listen to people suffering terminal and degenerative conditions, and ensure both health services and the law provides the support they need to manage their conditions, enable them to retain their dignity and autonomy. This also means ensuring that everyone has quality palliative care to support those with life limiting conditions.
However, changing the law to permit assisted dying could also put people at risk. It is the responsibility of Government to safeguard vulnerable people, and such a measure could place pressure on patients to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional, or care burden upon others. There are further complex areas involving decision-making capacity, and the impact of mental illness.
This is clearly a very emotive issue, with strong views held on both sides. The role of Parliament however is to ensure that laws are passed that both serve and protect the people of this country. The matter of assisted dying has repeatedly been debated in Parliament, and I am sure efforts will be made to again bring forward legislation on this topic during this parliamentary term.
Should that be the case, I believe any changes to the current law must be based on scientific evidence and careful consideration of all issues. I have also committed to consult community and faith groups within the constituency ahead of any such matters being voted on in Parliament in future.