'Suicide suffering or Switzerland': Prue Leith calls for legalisation of assisted dying despite 'beancounting' fears

23 May 2023, 20:54 | Updated: 24 May 2023, 03:53

Bake Off&squot;s Prue Leith has called for assisted dying to be legalised in the UK, but said we should be "very careful about how we legislate" amid fears it could lead to coercion from families or doctors.
Bake Off's Prue Leith has called for assisted dying to be legalised in the UK, but said we should be "very careful about how we legislate" amid fears it could lead to coercion from families or doctors. Picture: LBC

By Chris Samuel

Bake Off's Prue Leith has called for assisted dying to be legalised in the UK, but said we should be "very careful about how we legislate" amid fears it could lead to coercion from families or doctors.

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Appearing on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the broadcaster said she hadn't thought about the issue until her elder brother got bone cancer, describing his death as "horrific".

Dame Prue acknowledged there was the risk that decisions over ending patients lives could end up being decided by NHS "beancounters" looking to saving money, but said it wasn't "beyond the wit of man to devise protocols that would stop that".

She suggested this could mean making it so that doctors and medical assistance are not permitted to suggest it as an option.

The South African campaigner insisted that fears over decisions to end someone's life being driven by concerns over health service resources are as yet an "imagined horror", but said it's a "good thing that we're imagining it, because then we will try and prevent it."

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Assisted dying is illegal in the UK, and Dame Prue suggested that at present, the options available are "suicide suffering or Switzerland".

Prue Leith joins Andrew Marr

Asked why the divisive practice shouldn't remain illegal, with those who seek to end their lives continuing to travel to Swiss clinics, Dame Prue said that for many people the costs involved are too great, and they're not able to go with a friend as they're not allowed to assist in the deaths of others.

"I don't want to die in a, however well meaning and well-run organisation which is basically in an industrial estate... " she said.

Dame Prue said the law should be changed to allow doctors to help people end their lives "if they want to"
Dame Prue said the law should be changed to allow doctors to help people end their lives "if they want to". Picture: LBC

She said the law should be changed to allow British doctors to help people who are sure about ending their lives to do so, "if they want to".

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Asked about her son Tory MP Danny Kruger's opposition to lifting the ban over fears surrounding the possibility of coercion, she said: "Well, that is a fear that I don't think has that much base for it, but if it is a fear we should be very careful about how we legislate."

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