Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill Written Evidence

55.Memorandum from the Bishop of Paisley (MIB 63)

  The consultation period on the Government Mental Incapacity Bill is already over one week old. As part of your consultation I would like to make the following points.

  1.  I really find it quite incredible that proposals for such vital and crucial decisions should be put out to a six-week consultation period in the middle of the summer holidays. I note that Parliament is itself in recess throughout this period of consultation. Once again, it appears that this Government is hoping to rush through legislation without permitting proper scrutiny and consultation.

  2.  This matter is so important because it touches directly on people's human rights as well as their civil rights. The first human right is the right to life. The Bill as it has been drafted would allow Euthanasia by neglect. Such an important development in our country should be properly and adequately discussed. This is a very complex and emotive issue, which requires a full and informed discussion within Parliament and throughout the country.

  I am nevertheless grateful for the opportunity given to contribute to the work of the Joint Committee and I can only hope that the members will see fit to allow an extended period of consultation in order to achieve a full and balanced consideration of the serious issues involved.

August 2003

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