Assisted suicide (Scotland) Bill

Monday 2nd February 2015

Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s health committee which I convene is currently scrutinising the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

As part of our inquiry we have taken evidence about the complex legal and ethical implications surrounding the proposed legislation.

Last Tuesday we held two separate panels. In the first we heard from those involved in palliative and end of life care. And in the second, we listened to the views of those from the various faith groups.

The proposals to legalise assisted suicide have clearly polarised opinion on both sides of the debate.  As head of the health committee and as a constituency MSP who has received numerous emails and letters from constituents on the matter, I fully understand the strength of feeling that the subject generates.

The committee has already received the views of over 800 people and will continue to examine evidence in the coming weeks, provided from those with knowledge, expertise and interest in the Bill and its implications.

MSPs have a duty to scrutinise the detail behind any proposed piece of legislation but given that this particular bill adjudicates on life and death, it is imperative that the committee robustly and transparently examines what is being proposed.

We will report to Parliament in spring 2015. After this time, all MSPs will have an opportunity to debate and exercise a free vote on the issue.

In the meantime if you would like to access all the written and verbal evidence that has been provided to the committee, you can do so by visiting the Scottish Parliament’s website at: