MP moved to tears by constituent’s plea for assisted dying

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An MP was moved to tears in parliament as she read out a letter from a constituent calling for the legalisation of assisted dying.

Politicians in Westminster have been debating the issue after a petition organised by Dame Esther Rantzen gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Siobhan Baillie, the Conservative MP for Stroud, welled up as she told the story of a man who wrote to her about the death of his mother.

The unnamed woman had considered taking her own life as her friend had done, he said in his letter, but ultimately decided against it.

However, she went on to ‘plead for death’, Ms Baillie said, as it took her 16 weeks to die ‘effectively from starvation’.

The politician welled up as she added: ‘I mention this gentleman because he said, “When my mum was dying” – and it’s hard, we all get these – “I promised myself that I, at the very least, would write a letter, and write this letter to my MP so that the bitter disagreement with the law in my experience would be on record.”’

Earlier, she had described constituents contacting her in ‘droves’ to call for assisted dying, saying: ‘I think there hasn’t been a surgery for some time when somebody hasn’t come in.’

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The parliamentary debate drew strong emotions in the opposite direction too, with Ms Baillie’s Tory colleague Thérèse Coffey saying: ‘No-one should feel such a burden on their family, their friends and society that they should end their lives early.’

Campaigner and TV legend Dame Esther Rantzen launched the campaign that resulted in the debate (Picture: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Labour MP Rachael Maskell said she had concerns over people who might feel they are ‘just getting in the way’ and think ‘my children themselves will have a better future without me’.

Kit Malthouse, a Conservative, said he rejected the idea that the country was ‘teeming with granny killers, all of us waiting just to bump off a wealthy relative so we can pocket the cash, like we’re some kind of nation of Jeremy Bambers, intent on remunerating ourselves’.

Bamber killed his adoptive parents, his adoptive sister, and her two sons in the 1985 White House Farm murders.

Having been prompted by a petition, Monday afternoon’s debate was not linked to a direct push for legislation.

The last time assisted dying was voted on in the Commons was 2015, when it was rejected at second reading by 330 votes to 118.

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