Parliament must listen to the public and back Margo

For immediate release 1 December 2010

Holyrood will today vote on the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill lodged by Margo Macdonald MSP. Like other parties, the Green MSPs are treating this as a vote of conscience, and both Patrick Harvie and Robin Harper will vote for her Bill at 5pm today. The most recent polling, published last week, indicates that 77% of Scots also back these proposals, with strong majorities in favour amongst supporters of all five parties represented at Holyrood.

Robin Harper MSP said:

"Margo's proposals are not just essential for those people whose quality of life has become intolerable, but also for their friends and families, and for the medical staff who care for them. The current unclear legal position serves no-one, and this Bill would give clarity to everyone involved. This vote is widely accepted as a vote of conscience, and my conscience insists that these terrible decisions should be freely made by the people concerned, not by politicians or campaign groups. Everyone should be able to decide for themselves what dignity in their last days means for them, and even if Parliament votes against today, this issue will stay on the agenda until it is properly resolved."

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The Scottish public appear to be well ahead of their Parliament on this issue, unfortunately, but Margo's hard work on this issue has moved the debate on. Ultimately I believe that reform of the law will come, and that Parliament will respect individual choice for all - including those who would choose not to end their lives. Some of the campaigners against these proposals have raised genuine fears about the detail of the Bill. But each life belongs to the person living it, and by backing that basic principle today Parliament can move on to scrutinise the detail and amend the Bill if necessary."

Angus Reid polled 1001 Scottish adults from 14-16 April 2010. Full tables are available on request.

The Scottish Parliament is considering the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill, which would allow people with intolerable terminal illnesses to be assisted if they wish to end their own life. Do you agree that this option should be available to people in Scotland? Do you agree that this option should be available to people in Scotland?