Barking and Dagenham MPs split over assisted dying vote

Labour pair Jon Cruddas and Margaret Hodge were divided over the issue

Labour pair Jon Cruddas and Margaret Hodge were divided over the issue - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham’s MPs were split over today’s parliamentary vote on assisted dying.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas was one of the 330 members rejecting the bill that would have allowed people with six months to live the option of being prescribed a lethal dose of drugs, providing two doctors and a High Court judge approved.

He believes the answer lies in providing more support for social and palliative care, rather than assisting suicide.

“I worry about people being coerced to end their lives and how people might think that they might become a burden and therefore feel pressured to end their lives,” he said.

“I don’t think we should be trying to legislate away suffering and worry about the role of the courts if the bill were to be passed.

“I fear this could be the thin end of a very big wedge in terms of legally helping people to end their own lives.

“I am not convinced by the safeguards in the bill. I have received many, many messages from local constituents on this issue from both sides of the debate, but personally I cannot support this bill.”

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Euthanasia, which is considered as manslaughter or murder, is illegal under English law.

Under the Suicide Act 1961, anyone found guilty of encouraging or assisting a suicide or a suicide attempt in England and Wales could face up to 14 years in prison.

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, was among the 118 that unsuccessfully voted in favour of the bill.

“This is a difficult issue but I am disappointed that this bill was not more successful,” she said afterwards.

“I think people should be able to choose to die with dignity if they are facing a horrible and painful death and there are enough safeguards in place so that people are not at risk. “We need to build consensus on this issue and this consensus is not there yet.”