Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield MP's plea on anniversary of father's suicide

Paul Blomfield Image copyright HoC
Image caption Labour's Paul Blomfield told MPs the current law forced his father to die a lonely death

An MP has made an emotional plea for the laws on assisted dying to be changed on the eighth anniversary of his father's suicide.

Labour's Paul Blomfield told MPs in the Commons his father made the decision to end his life shortly after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

The MP urged ministers to take action to help those in similar situations.

He said the existing law encouraged people to take their lives sooner and not tell loved ones of their plans.

Speaking during a debate on assisted dying, the Sheffield Central MP said: "It is by a coincidence to the day the eighth anniversary of my receiving a phone call here in Westminster that my father had been found dead in his garage.

'A lonely death'

"His experience shows how the existing law, not simply fails people, but leads to premature deaths," he said.

"I know that some of those who are opposing change argue that it could lead to people taking their lives sooner than they would otherwise face as their end.

"But my experience and I think the experience of many others is that the existing law in itself encourages people to take lives sooner than they would otherwise do."

He added: "He couldn't talk to me about it. He couldn't talk to his partner. Because he would have made us complicit.

"The current law forced my father into a lonely decision and a lonely death."

Mr Blomfield said his father, who was 87 when he died, had a "tough east end upbringing in poverty" and was an RAF pilot during World War Two.

The MP also drew support from his counterparts on both benches, including former minister Crispin Blunt, who said the government was "increasing tyranny, pain, and despair" by not acknowledging a change in the law was needed.

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