Guernsey parliament to vote on assisted dying

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Guernsey’s Parliament is to vote on whether to allow assisted dying.

It will follow a two-day debate by the Channel Island’s 40 deputies.

The subject is close to the heart of Martin McIntyre, a 56-year-old retired civil servant, originally from Croydon, who has lived in Guernsey for the last two decades and was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer a year ago.

He knows he’ll be dead long before any euthanasia law can help him, but he wants those who come after to have the choice he does not.

Martin McIntyre has terminal cancer
Image: Martin McIntyre has terminal cancer

He told Sky News: “I might just go away peacefully in which case happy days, but if I’m in anguish or severe pain I would like to have had an option where I could have a conversation with my wife and say ‘I don’t want to live like this my love, I really would like to go now’.”

Few issues are as divisive as helping someone to kill themselves and on Guernsey it is no different.

The island’s Dean, the very reverend Tim Barker believes life is sacrosanct and a law to allow assisted dying would be the beginning of a slippery slope for some of the most vulnerable in society.

Rev Barker said: “The value of life is something that is recognised across religious and ethical and moral traditions and it is a very very significant step if a community decides to change that understanding of the importance of life and to sanction the ending of life.”

Rev Tim Barker believes life is sacrosanct and opposes assisted dying
Image: Rev Tim Barker believes life is sacrosanct and opposes assisted dying

Guernsey’s deputies, each independent, with no party affiliation will debate the issue over the next two days. If 21 or more of them vote in favour then the route to legal killing will be clear.

The chief Minister Gavin St Pier will open the debate, he believes whichever way the vote goes its only a matter of time before assisted dying becomes law in future.

“Clearly my preference is that we as a community should be choosing to move earlier rather than later,” he said.

“But if that is not the will of our parliament so be it, but I think the change is one that will come in the fullness of time in any event.”

Chief minister Gavin St Pier believes change will come sooner or later
Image: Chief minister Gavin St Pier believes change will come sooner or later

There is also a practical obstacle to the proposition, the General Medical Council which oversees all doctors, is opposed to euthanasia and any physician who helped to end a life may be struck off.

More from UK

Whether Guernsey votes yes or no, the pressure across the UK to address the issue once and for all will continue to build.

The island might be geographically nearer to France than Britain, but politicians in Westminster will be following developments here more closely than ever over the next few days.

From – SkyNews

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