Our Man in Westminster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Damian Green

It has been in­struc­tive in re­cent weeks that the num­ber of letters and emails I have re­ceived about refugees has been con­sid­er­able but still far fewer than the num­ber about the As­sisted Dy­ing Bill. Of course or­gan­ised cam­paigns that ask peo­ple just to click on a web­site mean that such large num­bers are easy to cre­ate, but what has been dif­fer­ent about as­sisted dy­ing is that both sides of the de­bate have been well rep­re­sented.

It was a very good de­bate in the Com­mons, with many pas­sion­ate and per­sonal speeches.

I voted against the bill, and it was de­feated by a much larger ma­jor­ity than many had pre­dicted.

I sus­pect this means that Par­lia­ment will not re­turn to the is­sue for a num­ber of years and cer­tainly not within the life­time of this Par­lia­ment, which runs un­til 2020.

The con­clu­sion I draw from the de­bate is that although there are im­per­fec­tions and prob­lems with the law as it stands, as is in­evitable with any is­sue that crosses med­i­cal, le­gal, and eth­i­cal bound­aries, the so­lu­tion is not in a new law that would le­galise eu­thana­sia.

The prob­lem with the bill was that it would en­cour­age de­mand for such le­gal­i­sa­tion, which would be a huge shift in our at­ti­tude to the sanc­tity of hu­man life.

The lives of the ter­mi­nally ill and the frail are of equal value to any­one else’s.

They de­serve equal pro­tec­tion un­der crim­i­nal law. The cur­rent guide­lines of the di­rec­tor of public pros­e­cu­tions are a well-crafted and sen­si­tive way of ad­vis­ing pros­e­cu­tors about what should con­sti­tute a crim­i­nal of­fence in this most sen­si­tive area with­out de­crim­i­nal­is­ing the as­sis­tance or en­cour­age­ment of sui­cide.

I think the House of Com­mons has come to the right and sen­si­ble con­clu­sion on the mat­ter.

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