Lib Dem conference affirms support for assisted suicide

Delegates at the Liberal Democrat’s annual conference have passed a motion in support of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

But one cancer specialist, who is also a Lib Dem councillor, told delegates that her patients are desperate to live, not die.

Dr Wendy Taylor said that neither she nor her colleagues want to be involved with helping patients end their lives.


She told delegates: “I don’t see patients desperate to die, I see patients desperate to live.

“Patients desperate to see their daughter get married, to hold their first grandchild, to see their son graduate, to celebrate their golden wedding. Or perhaps just to enjoy one last special family holiday.”

Dr Taylor also revealed how she had recently told the single mum of an eight-year-old that her cancer was terminal, adding: “I can assure you, conference, she wants to live as long as possible.”


However, she did back the creation of special courts or panels to decide individual cases when it came to those who are severely disabled.

The motion reaffirmed the Liberal Democrat’s support for a debate and free vote in Parliament on ‘medically assisted suicide’. It also called for safeguards.

Chris Davies MEP, who moved the motion, said: “As the recent case of Tony Nicklinson demonstrated, there are a number of people with conditions that inflict unendurable suffering and from which they have no chance of recovering, who want to end their lives but are unable to do so without medical assistance.”


He added: “Liberal Democrats believe MPs should be given the chance to have a free vote on legislation to allow people, in specific circumstances, to end their life with medical help.”

Earlier this month a Guardian writer said that if assisted suicide were allowed, proposed safeguards could not ultimately be trusted.

Andrew Brown said the “changing interpretations” of the law on abortion “show how little legal safeguards are worth when the sentiment behind them evaporates”.

He did not agree with claims that “the right kind of legislation, with the clearest possible safeguards, will stop unwanted grannies being liquidated for their asset value”.

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