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Suffering Lord changed his mind

Lord Rix, one of the most famous actors in Britain, has revealed he is dying and has made a heartfelt plea for euthanasia to be legalised in order to allow him to “slip away peacefully”. Learning disability campaigner Lord Rix has revealed he is suffering from a terminal condition. In an emotive letter to the Speaker of the House of Lords Baroness D’Souza, the 92-year-old Mencap president has urged Parliament to act “as soon as possible” to make it possible for people in his situation to be assisted to die. This news would not be catching the eye, but for the fact that the same Lord Rix voted against an Assisted Dying Bill which came before the House of Lords in 2006 because he feared that people with learning disabilities might become the unwilling victims of euthanasia.

His argumentation? “My position has changed. As a dying man, who has been dying now for several weeks, I am only too conscious that the laws of this country make it impossible for people like me to be helped on their way, even though the family is supportive of this position and everything that needs to be done has been dealt with. Unhappily, my body seems to be constructed in such a way that it keeps me alive in great discomfort when all I want is to be allowed to slip into a sleep, peacefully, legally and without any threat to the medical or nursing profession. I am sure there are many others like me who having finished with life wish their life to finish.”

“I can only ask that once again the House of Lords brings the UK up to date by allowing legal euthanasia after all other avenues have been pursued. Please raise the question again in the House of Lords so that people like me do not continue to suffer untold misery for want of a kind alternative. I realise somebody in the House will have to move the question yet again and would ask that my statement is read out and acted upon as soon  as possible. Only with a legal Euthanasia Bill on the statute books will the many people who find themselves in the same situation as me be able to slip away peacefully in their sleep instead of dreading the night.”

Lord Rix died on 20 August 2016.

(The Telegraph, by Nicola Harley)