Bob Seely has made clear that he is opposed to any relaxation or change in the existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
This comes after last week’s hustings event, at which he was the only parliamentary candidate on the Isle of Wight to express such an unambiguous view: telling the audience that he would emphatically oppose any change in the law. In contrast, the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green candidates all supported a change to allow what they call “assisted dying”, whereas the UKIP and independent candidates sat on the fence. Bob is now urging the other candidates to look at the Care Not Killing website and consider changing their stance.
Speaking after the debate, Bob said: "I strongly oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. I do not believe it is something that we should be supporting or welcoming on the Island.
"Firstly, I think the term 'dignity in dying' - used by some people supporting euthanasia - is highly misleading. It is a manipulative use of language to hide the reality that such a change in the law would legally allow people to help others to terminate their lives before their natural end.
"Secondly, we already have a legal, ethical and caring version of assisted dying in the palliative care pathways that hospices and other organisations offer. These pathways have been developed over years of experience and care by experts dedicated to treating with sensitivity and kindness those people nearing the end of life.
"Thirdly, I believe that allowing any form of assisted suicide is a slippery slope to a generalised acceptance of euthanasia. The reality is that laws in Holland and elsewhere that were meant to apply to terminally ill adults of sound mind are being extended to larger sections of the population. This is simply wrong.
“A change in the law would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others. This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed. We need to care for all those that are living, not create a climate which indirectly pressures them to end their existence."
In response to the stance taken by other candidates, Bob added: “I was disappointed to be in a minority of one on this life-and-death issue at last week’s hustings. When it was most recently voted on in the House of Commons in 2015, the clear majority (330 to 118 votes) opposition to a change in the law came from Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP and other MPs — including a majority of Conservative and Labour MPs who voted.
“This issue is too important for party politics, and I had hoped to see a greater consensus amongst the Island’s parliamentary candidates last Thursday. I would strongly encourage the other candidates to read the persuasive case set out on the Care Not Killing website and reflect on whether they wish to change their stance.”
Bob has highlighted a contribution made in the 2015 debate by Dr Philippa Whitford, an SNP MP, who was a breast cancer surgeon for 30 years. She said:
“I believe that this is not just a tidying up of a small legal anomaly. It is, rather, a crossing of a Rubicon, as was mentioned earlier. It is changing and legalising the killing of one person by another, regardless of the reasons why we would want to carry that out.
“We should support palliative care and we must ensure that it is available to people who are dying, regardless of their illness. We need to change our tone towards the people who live in our society, so that old and vulnerable people no longer feel that they should get out of the way.”
Bob added: “I agree with every word that Dr Whitford has said on this matter, and if elected I would work with politicians of all parties to oppose any relaxation in the current law on euthanasia and assisted suicide.”