Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has earned the right to introduce a Members’ Bill to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill people in the Scottish Parliament, it has been confirmed today.
This comes after Mr McArthur lodged a final proposal with the parliament in early September, initiating a 30-day window for him to garner cross-party support from at least 18 MSPs.
This goal was reached within two hours of the final proposal being lodged.
The proposal to legalise assisted dying has now received backing from 36 MSPs – over a quarter of members, and as many as the number who voted for the previous assisted dying bill in the chamber at stage one.
The Scottish Parliament has now confirmed that Mr McArthur has the right to introduce his legislation.
Last month Mr McArthur also published the outcome of his public consultation on assisted dying, which elicited a record 14,038 responses.
76% of individuals who responded expressed full support with a further 2% partially supporting a change in the law.
Mr McArthur will now work with the Scottish Parliament’s Non-Governmental Bills Unit (NGBU) to draft a bill, which he aims to introduce to the parliament in early 2023.
Commenting on this outcome, Mr McArthur said:
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all MSPs who have put their names behind my proposed change in the law.
“The support among colleagues has been deeply heartening, and demonstrates the growing recognition that there is a need to end the ban on assisted dying in Scotland.
“The Scottish public has long been ahead of the parliament on this issue.
“The public consultation on these proposals, published last month, demonstrated that there is strong and passionate support for offering people more choice at the end of their life.
“I now look forward to working with colleagues in parliament to bring forward a safe, robust, and compassionate Bill.
“I remain committed to a process which carefully considers the views of the public, organisations and healthcare professionals, as well as international experience, to craft legislation which is tightly drawn and contains strong safeguards.
“Thanks once more to MSPs who have given support so far, as well as to all those who have taken the time to engage with me and indeed other MSPs over recent months on this issue to share their views.”