Paul Blomfield MP: Sheffield Central MP breaks down in tears during assisted dying debate
Mr Blomfield backed proposals to legalise the practice, which is illegal in England and Wales and can be punished with up to 14 years in prison if someone is found to have helped the suicide or attempted suicide of another person.
Speaking on the 11th anniversary of his father passing, Mr Blomfield said a change in the law could have allowed his father to “stay longer” and “go at a time of his choosing”.
Mr Blomfield’s father took his own life, aged 87, after receiving a diagnosis for an inoperable cancer.
He said: “I was shocked and clearly still struggle with it but I shouldn’t have been surprised because he had always believed that the law should be changed to allow assisted dying, and let’s be clear – and we should be very clear about the terms we use – my dad wasn’t suicidal.
"He loved life. He was 87. But at that age he had inevitably watched many of his friends go, often miserably, horrific deaths.
"He talked with me about their last days and he had always been clear that he would rather end things than face a lingering and degrading death but I still wasn’t expecting it."
Mr Blomfield said his father couldn’t speak to his wife or his son about his struggles as it would have made them “complicit”.
He said: "The current law forced my father into a lonely decision and a lonely death and he died prematurely because I am sure that what drove him to end his life at that point was the fear that if he didn’t act when he could and was still able to do so, he would lose the opportunity to act at all."
MPs were debating a petition calling for assisted dying to be made legal for “terminally ill, mentally-competent adults” and has been signed by over 155,000 people.
Former health secretary, Matt Hancock, said during today’s debate there should be a vote in the House of Commons on the matter.