Motherwell and Bellshill politicians share views on Assisted Dying bill

By Lisa FergusonBy Lisa Ferguson
By Lisa Ferguson
MSPs have been talking about their views on the Assisted Dying Bill which could legalise the right for patients to end their own lives under a set of guidelines laid out at Holyrood this year.

This will be the third time the bill has gone through Holyrood having originally being raised by the late Margo MacDonald. In 2010 that draft of the bill was defeated by 85 votes to 16 and a second attempt by the Green Party’s Patrick Harvey fell by 82 votes to 36 in 2015.

The latest bill has been raised by Orkney Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur.

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SNP Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Stephanie Callaghan said she was "open" to the prospect but added: "I also appreciate there are some that find the idea of actively and deliberately hastening death disturbing.

"It’s a difficult issue. Personally, I accept that assisted dying can be an act of mercy and compassion.

"However, I cannot give a definitive answer yet, as examining the full detail of proposed legislation will be a key factor in my decision. Robust safeguards are essential."

Meanwhile Clare Adamson MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw said: “I didn’t support the last bill as I did not believe that the Bill as presented alleviated my concerns, and those for the public and advocates of vulnerable people, around safeguarding and protection.

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"I would have to see the detail of the new bill before being able to comment. I can reassure my constituents that I will examine the bill and all the evidence before coming to a decision."

Meanwhile Conservative Central Scotland List MSP Meghan Gallacher said she had "always" supported the move but added: "This bill would need to have strict laws in place to protect the individual who wishes to end their life. I will be asking questions regarding this, to make sure that the legislation is brought forward which includes these protections."

Her Conservative colleague on the list Graham Simpson said: “Coping with terminal illness is of course hugely distressing and difficult, both for the patient and their family. These cases are truly moving and evoke the highest degree of compassion and emotion. I am genuinely torn I will listen to all views and no doubt speak to constituents on both sides of the debate.”

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