Kit Malthouse MP took over as Chairman of the Choice at the End of Life All Party Parliamentary Group at its annual general meeting this week.
The group seeks to put the choice over how, where and when terminally ill people die in their own hands by and 78% of people in the UK agree that this should be the law.
However in the 2015 vote on an assisted dying Bill, the House of Commons showed that it remained well out of step with the public with a majority voting against.
Kit said: “As long as Parliament fails to act, the law will keep failing suffering people who will be denied dignity at a time when they desire it most. It’s clear to me that this is the great human rights campaign of our political generation and I am proud to be playing my part.”
The meeting was held as the case of Noel Conway was heard by the High Court. Mr Conway, a retired college lecturer has motor neurone disease which is gradually destroying all strength in his muscles. He cannot walk and increasingly relies on a ventilator to help him breathe and he fears becoming entombed in his body. He wants a doctor to be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose for him at a time of his choosing without fear of prosecution. The meeting heard from two brave individuals: Christie Arntsen, a cancer patient witness to the case, and Dr David Nichol, a consultant neurologist who has recently written in support of assisted dying in the BMJ.
On being told of Kit taking on the chairmanship, Noel said: “I want to congratulate Kit on becoming the new chair of the all-party group and for his support for this campaign. MPs have not represented the wishes of the majority of their constituents in the past. I hope the group, under Kit’s leadership, can persuade Parliament of the need for a new assisted dying law that respects dying people’s right to make our own decisions at the end of our lives.”
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