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Parliament debates assisted suicide Bill – as it happened

Edward Leigh MP addresses the House of Commons

14:30 Opponents of the Bill are expressing their elation on Twitter:

14:19 MPs have voted 118 in favour of the Bill and 330 against.

14:09 The House of Commons is now dividing and MPs will vote on the Assisted Dying Bill.

14:05 Mike Penning Justice Minister says that the Government does not take a view on the Bill and so he will speak in a personal capacity. He is speaking about his grandmother who suffered a stroke but who went on to live 20 years defying all expectations. He will be voting against the Bill because he is against suicide and wants to incentivise better palliative care.

14:02 The Shadow Justice Minister, Andrew Slaughter has urged the House to support the Bill.

13:55 Gavin Robinson MP for Belfast East says both his head and his heart oppose the Bill based on the worrying evidence from Oregon which would place medics in an invidious position.

13:51 Colleen Fletcher says that the Bill contains serious flaws due to a lack of safeguards with no provision for psychiatric assessment to protect the mentally ill.

13:48 Living and Dying Well share images from protests today outside of Parliament:

13:42 Times commentator Tim Montgomerie shares his fears for the future:

13:31 Madeleine Moon MP is addressing the House and says that it is offensive to use the term “commit” in relation to suicide because it is not a crime. She is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide Prevention and calls for the Bill to proceed because a debate is necessary.

13:26 BBC political correspondent predicts a vote may be imminent:

13:18 The Economist has come out strongly in favour of assisted suicide and is running the following adverts across London:

Leicester Sq

13:12 Tim Stanley gives his midway verdict on the debate:

13:00 Andrew Bridgen MP says that supporters of the Bill have an overly optimistic view of human nature and he opposes the Bill because he is vey concerned about coercion from avaricious relatives on the terminally-ill.

12:49 Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, opposes the Bill and worries that people will opt for assisted suicide to avoid healthcare costs. “Dignitas does not bring dignity to death…is that the best that we can offer?” he asks.

12:45 Right to Life reports a welcome change of heart:

12:40 Catholic MP, Rob Flello, is speaking against the Bill and pointing out that an assisted death is not quick or dignified. Flello argues that after ingesting a dose of lethal barbiturates, on average, it takes one hour to die.

12:30 John Pugh MP makes the point that if this Bill were passed people would still have to travel to switzerland as it doesn’t cover conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease or locked-in syndrome.

12:23 Maria Caulfield MP for Lewes, fears legalised assisted suicide would remove incentives for scientific discovery and medical advances and opposes the Bill. She points out that if we mirrored the US state of Oregon’s rate of assisted deaths, there would 1500 assisted deaths per year in the UK.

12:17 Rowena Mason, political correspondent at The Guardian, assesses how things are going so far:

12:10 Philippa Whitford, SNP, Health Spokesperson opposes the Bill because as a breast cancer surgeon she has never considered that “death was a good treatment for anything.”

12:04 Dr Sarah Wollaston MP argues that applying the principle of self-determination in this debate is risky because “suffering” is a subjective term. She says: “The duty of a doctor is to improve the quality at the end of life not to shorten it.”

11:55 Edward Leigh MP ask the House of Commons “what sort of society do we want to create?” One where we don’t value the poor, old, crippled ill and dying? He reiterates his opposition to the Assisted Dying Bill.

11:50 Isabel Hardman of the Spectator reacts to Paul Flynn MP’s assertion that euthanasia is happening anyway:

11:40 Nick Herbert MP is addressing the House recalling how Bertrand Dawson euthanised King George V with a lethal injection of cocaine and morphine but still opposed its legalisation. He opposes the Bill and warns the House to be wary of the rhetoric of “rights” in this debate.

11:30 Steve Brine MP for Winchester who opposes the Bill quotes Winston Churchill: “There’s no such thing as public opinion only published opinion.”

11:25 This giant judge attends the No rally outside Parliament

11:20 Former doctor, Liam Fox MP, says that the law already allows for double effect-allowing for pain relief that may have the side effect of hastening death.

11:17 ‘No to Assisted Suicide’ highlights an important point from Jim Shannon MP’s speech:

11:13 A summary of Nadine Dorries’s intervention:

11:11 Nadine Dorries argues that ingesting lethal barbiturates does not provide for a good or peaceful death.

11:06 Nadine Dorries is addressing the House and argues that the cases that Starmer was referring to are largely irrelevant because the cases he highlighted would not be covered by Marris’s Bill.

11:02 Keir Starmer argues that at present the only assistance with dying on offer is “amateur” rather than medical and professional and that this is an “injustice.”

11:00 Keir Starmer reflects on the cases of Daniel James, Debbie Purdy and Tony Nicklinson.

10:47 Life charity raises a critical weakness in the Bill:

10:46 Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, is addressing the House of Commons now.

10:46 Fiona Bruce MP is addressing the House of Commons now. She is particularly worried about people who are mentally ill or who have learning disabilities and points out that charities such as Scope oppose the Bill. She describes the lack of safeguards as verging on “laughable.”

10:43 An onlooker notes an anti-Catholic streak entering the debate:

10:42 The Alliance of Pro Life Students has been demonstrating outside Parliament this morning:

10:39 The Guardian editorial today has raised practical concerns about the ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill:

“The safeguards in the Marris bill are so stringent that it is difficult to believe they could form the basis of a workable national system. Some 500,000 people die in England and Wales every year – 15 times as many as in Oregon. If the same proportion of them choose assisted dying as have recently done so in Oregon, there could be several thousand cases a year before high court judges; several thousand extra interviews on a literal matter of life and death, each to be conducted by two psychiatrists at a time when NHS appointments are supposed to last 10 minutes. It’s hard to see it working.”

10:36 Crispin Blunt MP says that not everyone wants to share in the “Passion of Jesus Christ” by embracing suffering at the end of life. He supports assisted suicide.

10:34 Right to Life reacts to Rob Marris’s opening speech:

10:30 Boris Johnson MP has come out against Rob Marris’s Bill:

10:27 Communications Officer for Care summarises Caroline Spelman’s speech:

10:24 George Howarth MP says that opting for assisted suicide to stop being a burden is a perfectly rational choice.

10:23 Caroline Spelman speaks against the Bill saying that the Bill would change relationships between doctors and patients by promoting their participation in a patient’s suicide. Spelman says that if the elderly feel a burden our society has abandoned the Christian principle of honouring our fathers and mothers.

10:20 Rob Marris concludes: “If the exercise of a personal choice in a free society doesn’t harm others we should allow that choice.”

10:18 You can watch the debate in Parliament live here.

10:08 Interesting point from Director of Communications at Church House:

10:03 Rob Marris concedes that the majority of doctors in the UK are opposed to legalising physician assisted suicide.

10:02 Gisela Stuart MP asks what happens if a patient starts choking on a lethal dosage of drugs. Should the doctor intervene? Marris replies that patients have not choked on lethal drugs in other jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legalised.

09:57 Rob Marris outlines the safeguards in the Bill saying it only applies to people with a prognosis of six months or less. Helen Jones MP intervenes and says that prognosis is not an exact science.

09:55 Rob Marris says that the Bill is a matter of conscience.

09:55 Rob Marris is addressing Parliament and introducing his private members’ bill. He said: “It’s time Parliament grasped this issue.”

09:50 More than 85 members would like to speak in the debate which has been described as “unprecedented” by the deputy speaker.

09:45 Welcome to our live blog covering the second reading of Rob Marris’s Assisted Dying Bill, which will be debated in the House of Commons today.

At present, assisting a suicide is a serious offence punishable by to 14 years in jail. If MPs vote in support of the Bill society will cross a moral Rubicon in which suicide can be legally prescribed for the sick and vulnerable.