Margo welcomes landmark assisted suicide ruling


By Rory Reynolds

RIGHT to die supporter Margo MacDonald MSP has spoken of her delight at the success of assisted suicide campaigner Debbie Purdy who has been leading calls for change to the law in England and Wales.

The Independent Lothians MSP has headed up Scottish efforts for the law on assisted suicide to be changed, and praised the decision by five law lords last Thursday to review existing laws in England and Wales.

Supporters hope that a change in legislation will prevent those who travel to Swiss ‘death’ clinics with terminally ill relatives from being prosecuted for involvement.

Mrs MacDonald said: “I was very pleased with the decision. Firstly, for Debbie and her husband, this is great – it must have lifted them.

“The decision will give her a better life and she will most certainly be more relaxed – as will her family.

“Secondly, this decision was very decisive. All five law lords agreed – there was no ambiguity.”

But the Parksinson’s sufferer, who says she wants to chose when she dies, insists that Scotland is “well ahead” on assisted suicide laws and has still “led the way”.

She said: “I was a bit annoyed that the Scottish Bill wasn’t given much mention in most of the coverage – in terms of the development of the idea, and the law, we are well ahead of England.

She added: “I can fully understand what Debbie Purdy is feeling, and she will be able to understand what I’m thinking.”

Mrs MacDonald believes most Scots support a change in the law and last year made a BBC Scotland documentary on assisted suicide called My Right To Die.

Ms Purdy – who sufferers from Multiple Sclerosis – sought clarification in the Lords as to whether her husband would be prosecuted for helping her end her life.

She was confronted with the dilemma that she may have to end her life on her own at a Swiss clinic.

Her husband, the Cuban violinist Omar Puente, was said to be “ecstatic” at the decision.

He said: “I am eagerly awaiting the Director of Public Prosecutions policy publication, so that we can make an informed decision to make sure what we do does not risk prosecution.

“I feel like I have my life back.”