MP: I Was Prepared to Help My Friend to Die; Field Still Opposes Euthanasia but Was Ready to Break Law for Dying Patient

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), July 22, 2005 | Go to article overview

MP: I Was Prepared to Help My Friend to Die; Field Still Opposes Euthanasia but Was Ready to Break Law for Dying Patient


Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY ROBERT MERRICK Political Correspondent

MERSEYSIDE MP Frank Field has told how he was ready to help a terminally ill friend end her life, even though he would face possible prosecution.

The Labour MP for Birkenhead described how he visited the elderly woman in hospital, expecting to be asked to obtain drugs that would put a stop to her suffering In doing so, he would have left himself open to a charge of contravening the 1971 Suicide Act, an offence which carries a maximum 14-year prison sentence. But in the end, the friend, who was called Barbara Wootton and was a member of a pro-euthanasia group called EXIT, did not ask Mr Field to help her die.

Mr Field said: 'I had made up my mind that, although I disagreed with the approach, my great friend had every right to end her life in the way that she wished.

'Even though I would be guilty of such an offence that, if the matter became public knowledge, I would lose my seat, I believe that she had that right.'

However, Mr Field added: 'What struck me was that she never once asked for those knock-out pills and that she struggled right to the end.'

Mr Field made his comments during a Commons debate he sponsored, entitled 'End-of-life Care', to discuss how people and their relatives could better prepare for death.

It followed the recent death ofthe MP's mother, which made him realise how unprepared he was for the loss of a loved one.

Ironically, Mr Field recently tabled a Parliamentary motion urging the Government to 'oppose any Bills aimed to legalise physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia' as it would put pressure on the elderly to agree to hasten their deaths. …

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