A CAMPAIGNER who is facing a genetic timebomb has welcomed news that MPs are backing a debate about assisted suicide.
Lisa Cook, 41, has battled for the right of terminally ill people to end their own lives since she discovered she is likely to die from Huntington’s disease.
Now 100 MPs have signed an early day motion – a way for MPs to draw attention to a specific issue – calling for a debate on assisted suicide.
Mrs Cook said: “For there to be a fair and open debate, with balanced arguments not coloured by personal religious views and in a place where the law can be changed, would be fantastic.
“I’m not surprised at the level of support because everyone we have spoken to has expressed backing, from the whole spectrum of the political rainbow.
“It’s a step in the right direction and might hopefully be the first stage towards a change in the law.
“It’s long overdue and people will continue to go to whatever lengths they have to to achieve what they need to do, but they shouldn’t have to.
“There will always be people who want a dignified death.”
Mother-of-one Mrs Cook, of Woodhouse Hill, Fartown, is currently perfectly healthy but has been diagnosed as having the late-onset type of Huntington’s.
It means she will start to develop symptoms at some point after she has turned 50.
If she does not take action, she faces a protracted degeneration of muscles which could end with her choking to death on her own saliva.
Since her diagnosis, Mrs Cook has campaigned for lobby group Dignity in Dying, which wants terminally ill people to have the right to help in taking their own lives.
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the support for a debate on the issue was encouraging.
She added: “These 100 MPs agree that there is a problem with the current law, which forces terminally ill adults to travel abroad to die, to ask loved ones or doctors to risk their liberty and help them to die, or to attempt to take their own lives.Š
“This is a problem that needs addressing with urgency before any more terminally ill adults have to take these desperate decisions.”
The call for a debate comes at a time where the Government are modernising the law on assisted suicide through the Coroners and Justice Bill, which will go through the report stage later this month.
Ms Wootton added: “MPs will have the opportunity to debate this issue during the report stage of the Coroner’s and Justice Bill on March 23 and 24 and peers will have the same opportunity after the Easter break.
“The bill aims to modernise the 1961 Suicide Act but crucially fails to make the distinction between maliciously encouraging a suicide and compassionately assisting a terminally ill person who wants to die. I hope MPs will have the courage to address this issue fully.”