North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb backs moves to legalise “assisted dying” - but what do you think?

Norman Lamb MP, pictured at Blakeney Hotel. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Norman Lamb MP, pictured at Blakeney Hotel. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Monday, March 10, 2014
9:00 AM

Care minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has backed moves to legalise “assisted dying”.

The Liberal Democrat said he would vote in favour of allowing terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to choose to be helped to kill themselves.

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Legislation has been drawn up by Labour former lord chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton and MPs would be allowed a free vote on the issue if it is debated in the House of Commons.

Several previous attempts to legislate on the issue have failed and both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said they personally oppose such a change.

But Mr Lamb said that there appeared to be “quite widespread public support” for ending what was a “cruel” system that left relatives unsure if they would be prosecuted.

Assisted suicide remains a criminal offence in England and Wales, technically punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2010 after one high-profile case indicated that anyone acting with compassion on the will of a dying person was unlikely to face criminal charges.

That has been the case in around 90 such deaths examined by prosecutors since then.

Critics, including doctors, disability campaigners and churches, warn that a formal change in the law would leave people vulnerable to pressure from family and others to end their lives.

The issue has split the House of Lords in recent debates, with the severely-disabled Baroness Campbell of Surbiton among those warning of the dangers. “It is not only dangerous for those who may see suicide as their only option, it can also be tempting for those who would benefit from their action,” she told peers.

Former Commons speaker Baroness Boothroyd insisted, however, that it was vital to change a system that added “cruelly to the suffering of people who want to die with dignity”.

Mr Lamb said that his own conversations with terminally-ill patients had swung his opinion in favour of legalisation. He said: “There need to be proper safeguards –that’s critically important,” he added. “You have absolutely got to guard against relatives or others seeking to get control of the estate. We have to be certain that it is an individual decision.”

21 comments

  • With appropriate safeguards, this would be a caring, humane and rational move

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    petential@aol.com

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • And as they whittle away at that chink in the armour defending the defenceless, the chances of protecting the old and infirm become ever more distant. And as for the person who whinges that he cant put his mother down. With an attitude like that your mother needs taking into the safety of a more caring relative. Put down, indeed. When my mother was seriously ill, I had a relative who was enthusiastic about having her "put down" to save on nursing home fees. Fortunately the nurses in the home were mainly Catholics and I was able to ensure my mother was not hurried on into the next world by some greedy money grubber. She slipped away quietly and in a dignified way when it was her time. I find that anyone would want anything else absolutely repugnant.

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    alecto

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • With a terminally ill labour group running County, George Nobbs should be watching this closely.....

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    Andy T

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • It is a logical step. Why an adult is not allowed to decide whether the suffering is enough yet an unborn child has no choice when its life is ,possibly, a social reason. As for dear old Norm, as a "Care " minister, a cynical person might perceive that the failing long term care introduced by this government and its attendant cut backs would look far better on paper.

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    stormy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • have you forgot about the money for new sea defences norman

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    milecross

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • This plan is for only the terminally ill,it says nothing about elderly or infirm.

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    Reader

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • This plan is for only the terminally ill,it says nothing about elderly or infirm.

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    Reader

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Bearing in mind what has happened with the so called Liverpool Care Pathway (an oxymoron if ever there was one), can we trust the NHS? Doctors were supposed to consult and get approval for that but often failed to do so. NICE is already saying that it wants to restrict the use of treatment for older people.

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    andy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • It must the choice of the individual concerned ,not caring or uncaring relatives. If someone has had enough of the pain and the indignity of a terminal illness it must always be their choice as to how they wish to proceed. Shipman was evil and the pathway so wrong. There is a way forward ,it just has to be found .with enough safeguards to make it work

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    Reader

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Does this mean he is finally going to put to rest the Lib Dem party?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • With appropriate safeguards, this would be a caring, humane and rational move

    Report this comment

    petential@aol.com

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I totally agree with this and should I have Alzheimer's I would want to end the limited amount of life I would live and the adverse amount of Mental, Physical and possible monetary drain on my loved ones. I want to make sure I have my dignity and I'm remembered for the right reasons and not the wrong ones. Experienced first hand. I appreciate this is not everyone's opinion.

    Report this comment

    tim.j.stubbs

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • With appropriate safeguards, this would be a caring, humane and rational move

    Report this comment

    petential@aol.com

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • With the help of highly trained health care professionals to check that it is indeed the wish of a terminally ill person ,then yes this is absolutely right, are we barbarians to want to want to watch a loved one die in possible agony ? If it is their absolute wish then everybody should do their utmost to make it happen . People talk about managed pain relief and end of life care care,if that is what people want .excellent that is their right. Let people choose....

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    Reader

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Bearing in mind what has happened with the so called Liverpool Care Pathway (an oxymoron if ever there was one), can we trust the NHS? Doctors were supposed to consult and get approval for that but often failed to do so. NICE is already saying that it wants to restrict the use of treatment for older people. Remind me, is this not similar to what Harrold Shipman is currently serving time for?

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    andy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • My mother had a terminal illness and was unable to give consent. I was not having some disgusting murderer do it for her. Life is sacred and people who try and dress up the removal of it by calling it caring and humane need to have a long hard think about when their time comes.

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    alecto

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I can put my dog down if she is suffering but I can't do the same for my mother - currently, my dog has more rights than my mother!

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    Norfolk John

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • "...Remind me, is this not similar to what Harrold Shipman is currently serving time for?...." . No . Firstly he assisted himself to die 10 years ago by hanging himself. Secondly he murdered people , hardly the same as someone with a terminal illness wanting to decide their own fate.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • "... is this not similar to what Harrold Shipman is currently serving time for?...". No , nothing like it. And Shipman assisted himself to die 10 years ago by hanging himself.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Would this assisted dying be the Governments choice of assisted dying? Will people have a choice on how they want to die? or is this an approved, private operator who will tell them how to die and how to go about it? No thank you, if I want to die, I'd rather choose the cowards way then to pay some legalised death warden to do it, oh yes, and pay for it, off course.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • With appropriate safeguards, this would be a caring, humane and rational move

    Report this comment

    petential@aol.com

    Monday, March 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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