Terminally ill campaigner slams ‘unfair Britain’ as New Zealand backs assisted dying

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A terminally ill campaigner has urged the UK not to get “left behind” after New Zealand legalised assisted dying.

Noel Conway, who took his battle for the right to die to the Supreme Court, said it was unfair for Britain to still ban assisted suicide.

More than 65% of Kiwis backed the measure in a referendum.

Noel, 70, from Shropshire, used to live in New Zealand.

He said: “Because I have spent most of my life in the UK, I am denied the rights that terminally ill New Zealanders may soon be granted.

“Motor neurone disease has robbed me of my ability to move my legs, arms, hands and neck.

“I am now dependent on a ventilator.

“Why should I have to endure more unbearable suffering when there is an alternative?

“I ask our Parliamentarians, would they rather be a leader in this historic fight or risk being left behind as the rest of the world moves on?”

New Zealand will now join the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia and 10 jurisdictions across the United States, including California, Washington, and New Jersey in providing end of life choices for terminally ill people.

Earlier this month members of Ireland’s Dáil voted to progress a Dying with Dignity bill to committee stage, meaning it will now undergo pre-legislative scrutiny by one of the select committees.

These developments come amid growing calls for an inquiry into the UK’s blanket ban on assisted dying.

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, welcomed New Zealand’s decision.

“This latest poll suggests that New Zealand could soon join a growing international trend towards true choice at the end of life, one in which the UK is increasingly an outlier,” she said.

“A safeguarded assisted dying law is the hallmark of a liberal,compassionate society, the lack of which is a stain on our country’s reputation.”