'Vince Cable has called for assisted dying to be legalised, becoming the first party leader to back the move.
In a moving article that will reopen the debate around the emotive subject, the Liberal Democrat leader called for Parliament to introduce new laws.
His change of heart emerged as Geoffrey Whaley, a terminally ill man who ended his life at Dignitas in Switzerland on Thursday, said police inquiries about his wife’s role had marred his final weeks.
Writing for the Mail, Sir Vince said nursing his first wife Olympia as she died of breast cancer had strengthened his opposition to assisted dying.
But a decade on, he had been convinced a change in the law was needed by the moving stories of constituents who chose to end their lives.
‘When Parliament finally lifts its gaze beyond the all-consuming Brexit debate, it will have to think about some of the big ethical and political issues out there,’ he writes.
‘Assisted dying is one of them.
Government should take the lead but, failing that, I am one of a growing number of MPs willing to support private members’ legislation in Parliament.’
Sir Vince said his previous objections had been based on fears that ‘greedy relatives’ could take advantage of lax laws to force elderly people to end their lives.
He warned that there would need to be ‘strict safeguards’ built in to protect the patient and the doctors involved and to prevent a ‘slippery slope’.
He said he and his current wife Rachel had decided that they would both support assisted dying if they were suffering.'
Read more: Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable calls for assisted dying to be legalised and says he couldn't let his wife suffer if her life became unbearable
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