MSP explains right to die vote

editorial image

MSPs have been explaining the reasoning why they voted as they did in last week’s controversial vote on assisted suicide.

The legislation which was originally instigated by the late Margo MacDonald was defeated by 82 to 36 votes at Holyrood, in what is arguably the most hotly debated-subject discussed in the chamber.

It has emerged that MSP Mark Griffin was amongst those who voted against it.

Explaining why he said: “I had grave concerns that any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others.

“This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed. The right to die can so easily become seen as the duty to die.I believe patients, families and carers need to be properly resourced and supported when they are dealing with very serious health problems.

“Therefore the priority of parliament should be to ensure that people with debilitating conditions and persons reaching the end of their lives are provided with good quality care,’’ he added.

Mr Griffin has been opposed to the bill from the outset but this is not the case with MSP Jamie Hepburn,

However, the Scottish Nationalist did not vote for the bill last week either. He said: “While I supported the previous Bill I felt unable to support this one.

“This is not because my mind is closed to considering this matter, but because of the contents of the Bill which was before Parliament. When the Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee took evidence from experts on this bill a number of significant flaws were identified. I believe that the provisions of this Bill was not as clear as is necessary and on an issue as complex as this clarity is vital,”

Meanwhile supporters of the bill have vowed to fight on.