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Committee will ‘carefully’ consider Assisted Dying Bill, MSP pledges

A Holyrood committee is urging people to get in touch with their views on a Bill which could legalise assisted dying in Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)
A Holyrood committee is urging people to get in touch with their views on a Bill which could legalise assisted dying in Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

The convener of Holyrood’s Health Committee has vowed it will scrutinise plans to legalise assisted dying in Scotland “carefully”.

Clare Haughey insisted MSPs on the committee would examine the proposals – which have been brought forward by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur, in a “transparent, balanced and thorough manner”.

She made the pledge as the committee appealed to people to get in touch with their views on the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland)
Bill.

A short survey is available online for people to put forward general views and comments on the Bill, including whether they back it or nor.

Meanwhile, there is also a more detailed call for evidence, to allow those with a relevant interest to make specific comments on the Bill’s provisions.

The proposed legislation marks the third time Holyrood has considered the issue of assisted dying, with two previous Bills overwhelmingly rejected at the first vote.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is hoping MSPs will back his Bill to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill at the end of their life (Jane Barlow/PA)

But Mr McArthur has said he is “confident” MSPs will support his proposals, despite opponents having raised fears that the Bill could see the lives of people who are ill or disabled being “devalued”.

Ms Haughey said MSPs on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee understood they were dealing with a “complex and sensitive issue”.

She stated: “We will ensure we take the time to scrutinise the details of this Bill carefully and provide an opportunity for all views to be considered.

“Our committee is keen to hear from individuals and organisations whether or not they agree with the general principles of the Bill, whether they have comments on specific provisions or whether they wish to suggest alternative approaches.

“We welcome all views, including from people affected by terminal illness, their families and carers, campaign groups either for or against the Bill and healthcare professionals.”

Ms Haughey said: “Our committee takes its scrutiny role extremely seriously and is committed to scrutinising this Bill in a transparent, balanced and thorough manner.”

People can submit their views online at yourviews.parliament.scot/health/assisted-dying-for-terminally-ill-adults-bill