‘MPs in touch with public over assisted suicide’

The House of Commons debate on assisted suicide was thoughtful, profound and moving, a leading pro-life MP has said.

Fiona Bruce, who spoke against the Bill, said MPs were determined to seriously weigh up the arguments expressed before deciding how to vote last Friday.

At the conclusion of the debate, 330 MPs voted against Rob Marris’ Bill, with 118 MPs in favour – a ratio of nearly 3:1.

From the heart

Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, has already suggested it will push for a change in the law before the 2020 General Election, and will also use the courts to apply pressure.

Mrs Bruce, writing on the Huffington Post website, said MPs had heeded the unease expressed by people around the country.

Members had done their business and their duty, conscientiously and with dignity.

Fiona Bruce MP

It was clear, she explained, that MPs had “carefully read and were considering the many hundreds of emails, cards and letters from concerned constituents received prior to the debate”.

She said the correspondence was “relevant, detailed, reasoned, and yet also from the heart”.

Changed mind

Mrs Bruce, the Conservative MP for Congleton in Cheshire, said the Commons listened carefully to people with medical and legal knowledge.

She also highlighted how Ben Howlett MP – and, she believed, others as well – changed his mind during the debate and voted against assisted suicide.

“Absent was the usual party political bickering across the Chamber. So too were the all-too-common politicians’ jabs or jibes.

“We were in this together, across the parties, no whips’ direction involved, and together we would be answerable for our decision”, Mrs Bruce added.

Palliative care

“Members had done their business and their duty, conscientiously and with dignity”, she said.

Mrs Bruce, who leads the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life group, concluded that the challenge now is to ensure that investment in palliative and holistic end-of-life care is “not just talked about but implemented”.

She said passing a Bill on palliative care, which is currently in the House of Lords, would “be our best legacy from Friday”.

See how your MP voted

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