Lyn Brown speaks of assisted suicide ‘tragedy’

West Ham MP Lyn Brown

West Ham MP Lyn Brown - Credit: Lyn Brown

Lyn Brown spoke passionately against the Assisted Dying Bill in Parliament today before its decisive rejection.

The MP for West Ham explained in a Commons speech this morning that she worried older people could be pushed into suicide by younger relatives, and that life is a “priceless gift”.

“My concern is that we will fundamentally change the way our society thinks about and deals with the terminally ill, severely disabled, the vulnerable, the troubled and the elderly,” she said. “It would fundamentally change the relationship between patient and doctor.

“Can we be absolutely sure [people] would not be pressured into it? I think it’s naive to believe we can prevent an elderly, expensive or asset-rich relative being encouraged, coerced or emotionally blackmailed into taking their own life.

“If just one person makes the decision to end their life as a result of that pressure, I believe that would be an absolute tragedy.”

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Ms Brown also mentioned her mum, whose sudden death she believes would have been made worse by the availability of assisted suicide.

Her mum would have worried about “selfishly staying alive when she could – and should – just die,” the MP said. She would have “tormended herself over when she should ask for the button to be pressed” to relieve the “burden” placed on doctors, nurses and family.

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The bill discussed today would have allowed people with six months to live the option of being prescribed a lethal dose of drugs, providing two doctors and a High Court judge approved.

It was rejected by 330 to 118 votes.

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