30 November 2007
Liberal Democrat leadership election update
Nick Clegg MP and Chris Huhne MP are currently battling it out to see who will lead the Liberal Democrats into the next General Election. The Home Affairs Spokesperson and the Environmental Spokesperson have been on the campaign trail since mid-October and are now only a fortnight away from the deadline for the return of ballot papers on Saturday 15 December.
With the BBC reporting that the race for the leadership is wide open, the last few weeks of the campaign will prove crucial in determining who the winner is.
Dignity in Dying has contacted both Nick Clegg’s and Chris Huhne’s offices to clarify their positions on assisted dying for the terminally ill. Nick Clegg’s office responded that Nick fully supports the Liberal Democrats’ current position which supports a change in the law to allow mentally competent, terminally ill patients the option of a medically assisted death, whilst also respecting the right of individual Liberal Democrat politicians to conscientiously object.
Chris Huhne kindly responded directly to our request and stated:
“I think the case in principle for helping someone who has carefully made up their mind that they want to die – because of extreme pain for example – is very strong, but I am enormously worried about how you draw the line between someone who has reached a settled view without external pressure, and someone who may be unduly pressurised by family or friends. I am not therefore persuaded in practice that we could design adequate safeguards but I would be open to hearing the debate if a bill were to come forward.”
The leader is elected by the party’s members in a ‘one member, one vote’ postal ballot. Anyone who was a paid-up party member at close of nominations (4pm on 31st October) is entitled to vote.
For further information or to contact the candidates directly please visit:
About Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients.
The organisation is also the country’s leading provider in information on end-of-life issues.
Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.