Sir Patrick Stewart urges MSPs to back assisted dying in Scotland

Sir Patrick Stewart has urged MSPs to back new legislation that would legalise assisted dying in Scotland.

The Star Trek and X-Men star insisted terminally ill people should not be forced to end their lives in pain.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is bringing forward a Bill that would allow terminally ill and mentally competent adults to end their lives.

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Former Scottish MP says his children 'died in dignity' without assisted suicide
Sir Patrick Stewart. Picture: Getty

It is the third attempt to legalise assisted dying in Scotland.

Two doctors would need to confirm a person was terminally ill and mentally competent, and there is a suggested reflection period of 14 days.

Mr McArthur argues the Bill contains "strong safeguards" and does not go as far as previous plans.

He said he believed MSPs will back it, making Scotland the first place in the UK to legalise assisted dying.

Mr McArthur hosted an event at the Dynamic Earth visitor attraction in Edinburgh to mark one year since he announced his intention to bring forward the proposals.

In a video message, Sir Patrick, who has campaigned on the issue, said: "Dying people in Scotland should not be forced to die in pain against their wishes.

"I am asking members of the Scottish Parliament to support Liam McArthur's Assisted Dying Bill."

Elsewhere, Booker-prize nominated author Andrew O’Hagan read extracts from his latest novel, Mayflies, inspired by the experience of a terminally ill friend.

Mr McArthur previously told The Scotsman it was "absolutely the right time" for the legislation.

The Orkney MSP, who is also a deputy presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, said two elections have passed since Holyrood last considered such plans.

He said: "The longer I've been involved in this, the more convinced I've become that a change in the law is not just necessary, it's long overdue.

"And what I need to guard against is trying to rush this through because I believe it's long overdue and it's much needed, and that there are those who could benefit from it who won't because we won't have passed the law in time for them to avail themselves of it.

"Because we absolutely need to get this right."

However, campaigners and some MSPs have raised concerns.

Labour's Pam Duncan-Glancy, a permanent wheelchair user, called the proposals "dangerous for disabled people".

A consultation on the Bill closed in late December.

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