THE Christian Conservative MP Danny Kruger is co-ordinating opposition in Parliament to the “well-organised, well-funded” campaign to legalise assisted dying.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well, which Mr Kruger chairs, was launched last week. Its stated purpose is “To promote excellence in palliative care and stand against the legalisation of doctor assisted suicide”. Its vice-chairs include the former leaders of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, Tim Farron and Sir Iain Duncan Smith, and a former Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Lord Chartres, who is a crossbench peer.
Mr Kruger enlisted the signatures of 70 MPs and peers to a letter to the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC, sent on 25 April, which expresses “grave concerns about the renewed calls to change the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia”.
It refers to a recent request by the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, Crispin Blunt MP and Baroness Bakewell, that the Government establish an inquiry “into whether the law should be changed to license doctors to supply or administer lethal drugs to patients who request them and who seem to meet certain conditions”.
In jurisdictions in which assisted dying or euthanasia is permitted, such as Oregon and the Netherlands, the letter states, there has been “the tendency . . . for successive extensions of what is practised, tolerated and permitted”.
In a video promoting the parliamentary campaign against assisted dying, Mr Kruger says: “There is a well-funded, well-organised campaign here in Parliament to end the ban on assisted suicide. . .
“It would put huge pressure on elderly and vulnerable people who might think they’re a burden on their families or on society to end their lives early. We’ve seen from the small number of countries where this is already legal that the scope for who is eligible for assisted suicide is constantly expanded, and it becomes more and more normalised.”
In seeking to alleviate the suffering of the terminally ill, the Government should should invest more in palliative care rather than legalise assisted dying. “This country leads the world in end-of-life care, and in recent years there have been huge developments in pain management, in the science of managing pain; and it’s now possible to all but eliminate physical suffering for people in the last stages of their life.”