Labour MP gauges support for assisted-suicide bill

  • 06/11/2014

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is taking up the mantle of a bill belonging to a former colleague, which would legalise voluntary euthanasia.

The Palmerston North MP offered to pick up Maryan Street's End of Life Choice Bill, which she withdrew last year in fear of it becoming a political football during an election year.

Mr Lees-Galloway is still in the process of gauging support for the assisted-suicide members' bill with other MPs, because it would likely be put to a conscience vote – meaning MPs would not have to vote along party lines.

"At this stage, I don’t know where MPs will stand on it – we've got a lot of new MPs whose names I don't even know yet.

"But I'm hoping people might be interested in getting it to select committee so we can have that open debate," he says.

The debate has gained prominence again following the case of US woman Brittany Maynard whose video about planning to kill herself on November 1 went viral.

Ms Maynard, 29, had brain cancer and its aggressive nature would have meant a long and painful death.

She, her husband and mother moved to Oregon, one of a small number of US states with a right-to-die law. She ended her life on Saturday.

Mr Lees-Galloway says while the case brought the debate to the forefront for the media and the public, Ms Street had intended to reintroduce the bill regardless if she made it back into Parliament.

However, she did not make it back based on Labour's poor showing at the election.

He says he wants to make sure the numbers are there to support the bill before putting it into the ballot to be drawn.

For support and information about suicide and suicide prevention, contact Lifeline on 0800 543 354.

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source: newshub archive