Burnham-On-Sea’s MP has explained his decision to vote against assisted dying in Parliament on Friday.
A majority of 330 MPS voted against plans to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives through medical aid, against 118 MPs who were for it.
Burnham’s MP James Heappey has explained the reasons behind his vote.
“This week I will vote on the Assisted Dying Bill in Parliament. As you would expect, I have been contacted by people on both sides of the argument who have written and spoken with real passion on both sides of the debate,” he says.
“Some of the testimony – for and against – has been gut wrenching to hear or read and my decision on how to vote has been incredibly difficult to reach. Nonetheless, with the vote now upon us, I have decided that I will be voting against the Bill.”
“In reaching my decision, I have spoken with clinicians – including GPs and Palliative Care specialists, carers, charities and local clergy as well as many local residents. It has struck me that one of the most common concerns raised by those campaigning for the Bill is that they have an incredible fear of the helplessness and pain that might afflict them as they reach the end of their life. Indeed, I have people close to me who in the last year or so have seen a relative suffer incredibly from a terminal illness and as they neared the end, they too wanted to be able to end the suffering by choosing to die.”
“However, I can’t help see this as a reason for much better funding for Palliative Care rather than a reason to introduce assisted dying. Furthermore, we need to make sure that those who are terminally ill are treated with a dignity which extends beyond simply administering effective pain relief. We need to support people in their own homes and never create a situation where the old or infirm feel a burden on our society.”
“For those who have campaigned for me to vote in favour of this Bill, I know that this will be a huge disappointment. It will be little reassurance that I have thought about it so deeply but I hope they can respect that in these situations, it is impossible to please everyone and that ultimately I have to make a decision based on the opinions expressed by my constituents and the advice of local stakeholders. I will vote with a heavy heart but after much reflection, I am sure that I will be in the right lobby.”