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Assisted Dying Law Debate in House Of Lords LIVE

Assisted Dying Law Debate in House Of Lords LIVE

Assisted Dying Law Debate in House Of Lords Live

Lord Falconer said a “limited” change was needed to the law to give the terminally ill choice on their deaths.

He insisted that the “final decision must always be made by the patient”, with safeguards to prevent “abuse”

But Lord Tebbit said it would create “too much of a financial incentive for the taking of life”.Syringe and a bottle of morphine

Lord Falconer’s bill which would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.

About 130 peers have requested to speak in a debate on the subject, which started shortly after 10:00 BST.

‘Lonely death’

The bill is expected to get a second reading in the Lords, but without government backing MPs are unlikely to get a chance to debate it in the Commons, meaning it will not become law.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is not “convinced” by the arguments for legalising assisted dying but the bill has won the backing of Lib Dem Care Minister Norman Lamb.

The legislation would allow a terminally ill, mentally competent adult, making the choice of their own free will and after meeting strict legal safeguards, to request life-ending medication from a doctor.

Baroness Grey-Thompson recorded a personal film for This Week

Two independent doctors would be required to agree that the patient had made an informed decision to die.

Opening the debate in a full house, Lord Falconer – a former Labour Lord Chancellor – told peers the current legal situation permitted the wealthy to travel abroad to take their own life while others were left “in despair” to suffer a “lonely, cruel death”.

“The current situation leaves the rich able to go to Switzerland, the majority reliant on amateur assistants, the compassionate treated like criminals and no safeguards in terms of undue pressure now,” he said.

He said many people were so worried about “implicating their loves ones in a criminal enterprise” by asking them for help to die that they took their lives “by hoarding pills or putting a plastic bag over their heads”.

Legalising assisted dying, he argued would allow a “small number” of people who did want to “go through the last months, weeks, days and hours” to die with dignity.

“The current situation leaves the rich able to go to Switzerland, the majority reliant on amateur assistants, the compassionate treated like criminals and no safeguards in terms of undue pressure now,” he said.

He said many people were so worried about “implicating their loves ones in a criminal enterprise” by asking them for help to die that they took their lives “by hoarding pills or putting a plastic bag over their heads”.
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Lord Falconer’s bill was backed by Lord Avebury, the former Liberal MP, who was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer in 2011.

He urged peers to consider helping thousands of people who he said faced “weeks of torture before they die a means of escaping from that unnecessary fate”.

‘Confronting mortality’

But the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said the proposed legislation was “not about relieving pain and suffering” but was based on the misguided belief that “ending your life in circumstances of distress is an assertion of human freedom”.

He told peers that his mother had been given weeks to live after being diagnosed with throat cancer but, with the help of others, had lived for a further 18 months.

“Dying well is a positive achievement of a task which belongs to our humanity.”

Calling for a Royal Commission to be set up to examine the issue, he added: “This is far too a complex and sensitive issue to rush through Parliament and to decide on the basis of competing personal stories.”

The bill was attacked by former Tory cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, who said it could put pressure on people who are unable to care for themselves to “do the decent thing to cease to be a burden on others”.

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was paralysed in the 1984 Brighton bombing, also suggested legalising assisted dying could lead to personal and financial disputes between loved ones and relatives.

“The bill would be a breeding ground for vultures, both corporate and individual. It creates too much financial incentive for the taking of life.”
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View the debate on BBC Parliament live by clicking here
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Lords reform Definitely Ditched

Lords reform Definitely Ditched

  • Posted: Aug 06, 2012
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Lib Dem MPs will try to   block Conservative  plans to drive House of Lords into a different direction.

The Deputy PM has said he was dropping Lords reform after David Cameron told him Tory MPs were not prepared to support changes.

Nick Clegg said that the Tories had “broken the contract” between the coalition partners, even though his party had consistently delivered on its side of the deal.

He told a news conference in London: “The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to the Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken.

“Clearly I cannot permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat MPs are bound to the entire agreement.

Nick Clegg said that the Tories had “broken the contract” between the coalition partners, even though his party had consistently delivered on its side of the deal.

He told a news conference in London: “The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to the Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken.

The coalition works on mutual respect; it is a reciprocal agreement, a two-way street. So I have told the Prime Minister that when, in due course, parliament votes on boundary changes for the 2015 election I will be instructing my party to oppose them.

He said he was dropping the Lords reform bill after David Cameron informed him that an “insufficient number” of Tory MPs were prepared to support the changes.

But he insisted that the Lib Dems would carry on in the coalition.

“The thing I care about most – the central purpose of the Liberal Democrats in this Government – is to build a fairer society,” he said.

“We will continue with that critical work. We will continue to anchor this Government firmly in the centre ground.”

Mr Clegg disclosed that he offered a “last ditch” compromise to try to save both parts of the reform programme.

Under his proposal, there would have been a referendum on Lords reform on general election day in 2015 – with both boundary changes and the first elections to the Lords deferred until 2020.

Conservative Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the decision as “disappointing”, but said it would not affect the two parties’ commitment to work together.

He said: “The really important thing about this coalition is that we came together to sort out the economic mess that we inherited from Labour.

“There isn’t a cigarette paper between us on that. That is what we are focused on getting the gold medal for. Nothing is going to change that focus.”

It comes after Mr Clegg dismissed claims of splits within the coalition over carbon emissions reduction as he announced a £100m investment in energy efficiency.

Speaking to an energy conference in London, he insisted ministers were “unreservedly committed” to helping the low-carbon sector and that no one in the coalition wanted to ditch the programme to de-carbonise Britain’s economy.

Environmentalists were dismayed by Chancellor George Osborne’s comment to last year’s Tory conference that, while the Government would invest in green energy, “we’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”

The Treasury was understood to have demanded cuts in subsidies for onshore wind power in a tussle between Mr Osborne and Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

But Mr Clegg played down the spat as “part of internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies that are a normal feature of any government”.

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Lords Reform Set To Be Cancelled Next Week

Lords Reform Set To Be Cancelled Next Week

  • Posted: Aug 05, 2012
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The Prime Minister is expected to shelve Lords reform

Tory supporters of the Prime Minister don’t support the change in the House of Lords

But the Government is now said to be preparing to shelve the plans, which would slash the number of members in the House of Lords

If these plans go ahead. The House of Lords will be 80% elected.
The Lib Dems are already  preparing to retaliate , they have already warned they could block boundary changes that could hand the Tories an extra 20 seats at the next election.

It has been stated by a spokesman Lib Dem spokesman made clear there would be “consequences” for a failure to see through the constitutional change, which the party has insisted is part of the coalition agreement.

“Our position is pretty well established on what would happen if they failed to deliver. A deal is a deal,” the spokesman said. He also dismissed the possibility that the junior coalition partner would accept the U-turn if they are given other concessions on energy or party finance as “for the birds

Last month  the Government was forced to drop a timetable motion for the Bill, which would have restricted Parliamentary debate, because of dissent in the Tory ranks.

The vote still went ahead because of Labour support but 91 Tories still voted against the motion.
Mr Cameron is now thought to have insufficient time to draft the new reform Bill before September

However, Lords reform is at pressing issue for all parties involved. As especially for  Mr Clegg because he has already lost a referendum on another key constitutional policy – changing the voting system to AV.

Senior figures in the coalition  are now working on a new agreement to cover policies for the next two years.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: “Nick Clegg marched his MPs through the voting lobbies in support of the harsh and unfair policies of this Tory-led Government in anticipation of receiving Lords reform in return.

“But now Nick Clegg may end up with nothing, ruthlessly exposing his naivety. Millions of people struggling through the tough economic times will question his political priorities.”

Electoral Reform Society chief executive Katie Ghose said: “This reform is vital for Britain to hold its head up as a modern democracy but it is being sabotaged by MPs who think it will work against their own interests.

“The second chamber makes laws about life in Britain, it should belong to the British public and not be a play-thing for politicians to use in their squabbling with each other.”

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Lords Reform: PM Calls For Tory Support

Lords Reform: PM Calls For Tory Support

David Cameron calls on Conservative MPs to back the reform of the House of Lords as a draft Bill is published.

David Cameron has insisted it is time to “make progress” on reform of the House of Lords as a Tory revolt over the controversial legislation starts to bubble.

A draft Bill to create a mostly elected second chamber was published on Wednesday after Nick Clegg declared that MPs have to “just get on with it and got on with it”.

Mr Cameron backed his Deputy Prime Minister, declaring at PMQs (Prim Minister Questions) that progress had to be made on reforming the second chamber despite substantial opposition in his own party.

Mr Clegg wants to refurm the House of Lords and make a high priority for the Coalition, claiming there are more pressing issues such as the economy

It has been discussed at Prim Minister question a 100 times before and its now time to move on and make progress.

There are always going to be opponents of Lords reform in every party but there is a majority in this House of lords and in the country that is a good reform.

“If those who support Lords reform don’t get out there and back it, it won’t happen. That is the crucial point.”

Earlier Mr Clegg stated on Sky News: “There are many more important things in life than House of Lords reform, but we’ve been talking about it as a country for 100 years and all the political parties said at the last general election that they wanted to get this done.

“There’s a very simple principle at stake which I think most people would agree with, which is that people who make the laws of the land should be elected by the people who have to obey the laws of the land.

Houses of parliament

he Bill proposes slashing the number of peers to 450

“It’s as simple as that and I think we should just now get on with it. I hope people won’t tie themselves up in knots in Westminster. Just get on with this – it’s something the country expects us to do, and we should do it.”

The draft Bill, which is the last remnant of Lib Dem constitutional reform plans and is being driven by Mr Clegg, would create an 80% elected Lords and slash membership from 800 to 450.

If this become law, it will remove the hereditary peers from the Lords introduce elected members in groups of 120 at the next three general elections

The process would be complete by 2025 and elected members would serve for a single 15-year term.

In a concession to critics, ministers have scrapped plans for a salary of about £60,000 for members of the new Upper House.

They would instead be paid £300 every day they attend up to a maximum of £45,000-a-year, which would be taxed unlike the current attendance allowance.

The Bill was formally introduced to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. A date for the opening debate and a crunch vote on the timetable for its progress will be announced on Thursday. They are due to be held before MPs go on holiday on July 17.

Labour wants to join with Conservative rebels to vote down the motion setting out its passage through Parliament, with the Opposition demanding more days for the debate.

Defeat on the timetable would throw the legislation into chaos and could allow opponents of the Bill to delay its progress for months if not years.

The Government insists that all MPs will have have to support the Lord’s reform and anybody who refuse will have to resign or be sacked.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “It is a Government bill. It will be whipped appropriately and if necessary we will use the Parliament Act.”

Tory ministerial aide Conor Burns has quoted that he is prepared to sacrifice his job to vote against the timetable that has been laid out.

“This is a major constitutional change… If we are going to have this debate, we need to have it at length and in full and we should have it in committee on the floor of the House of Commons and we should take as much time as is necessary to do that.

“If I lose my job for something that was a mainstream view within the Conservative Party in the last parliament, which serving Cabinet ministers held as their view, so be it.”

Conservative MP Jesse Norman, who is campaigning against the reforms, has stated that she will vote against it and the Government’s timetable.

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