Cumbernauld Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP explains stance on Assisted Dying

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Cumbernauld’s new MP has been explaining why he did not vote on the controversial Assisted Dying Bill at Westminster on Friday.

Stuart McDonald opted not to participate in the bill which was overwhelming rejected by 330 to 118 votes.

The bill was introduced by Labour MP Rob Marris. It aimed to change the law in England and Wales to allow terminally ill patients to end their life.

When asked about his own view, the Scottish Nationalist said that he did not deem it ‘‘appropriate’’ to cast a vote.

However, he admitted that he is open to the law being changed at some point in the future.

He said: “This was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make so far and I’m grateful to constituents on both sides of the debate for their correspondence on this matter.

“Many of us will have seen family and friends die in very difficult and painful circumstances and will have thought carefully about whether, in a similar position, they would have wanted the choice to end their life in a dignified manner and at a time of their own choosing.

“I know I would personally appreciate that choice.

“Equally though, I fully understand that there are concerns over whether we can make absolutely sure people are exercising their own free will and not feeling pressured.

“I think we will one day finding the right balance. Like a growing number of people, I support that happening.

“However, with the Scottish Parliament having recently decided against this, I did not think it was appropriate for me to vote on a matter applying only to England and Wales.’’

The Assisted Suicide Bill was raised at Holyrood in May and defeated by 82 votes to 36.

Both Mr McDonald’s SNP colleague Jamie Hepburn and Labour List MSP Mark Griffin voted against it.