Dr Brian Iddon, MP for Bolton South East, has been appointed chairman of the steering group of the Care NOT Killing Alliance.
Care NOT Killing is a new UK-based alliance bringing together human rights groups, healthcare groups, palliative care groups, faith groups and concerned individuals.
Care NOT Killing has three key aims:
Dr Iddon said he fully supported these aims and it was a privilege to be invited to be Chairman. Recognising that the Suicide Act 1961 decriminalised the act of suicide by people who are either mentally ill or whose lives are in a state of turbulence, Dr Iddon argues that assisted suicide is quite different. Such an act requires the assistance of a third person and can therefore only be regarded as killing, he said.
"One of the tests of a civilized society is to observe how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, including the seriously disabled or very elderly," he said.
"To legalise assisted suicide would put immense pressures on such people to ease the burden on their carers by seeking assisted suicide. That can't be right.
"With significant advances in medicine, more babies are being born with serious disabilities and more and more people are living much longer, often with serious diseases or disabilities. As a result, the pressure is growing to legalise assisted suicide and even voluntary euthanasia. This Alliance has been established to monitor those pressures and to press for a more caring society.
"The alternative to assisted suicide, of course, is for society as a whole to provide for people at their time of greatest need. For the very elderly, particularly for those with incurable diseases, more palliative care has to be provided within the NHS, and not just by the charitable hospice movement. All of us have to be prepared to pay for that."
Care not Killing seeks to attract the broadest support among health care professionals, allied health services and others who are opposed to euthanasia. It is campaigning on the basis of powerful arguments underpinned by the latest, well-researched and credible evidence.
Key groups that have already signed up to join Care NOT Killing include The Association for Palliative Medicine, the British Council of Disabled People, RADAR, the Christian Medical Fellowship, the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the Church of England and the Medical Ethics Alliance. So far 29 organizations have joined the alliance.
Dr Brian Iddon was elected member of Parliament for Bolton South East in 1997 and held his seat in the two subsequent general elections of 2001 and 2005. His current majority is 11,638.
Dr Iddon's interests in Parliament cover a wide variety of topics in the Education, Health and Social Services, Housing, Home Affairs and Science and Technology areas. He has grasped some difficult and controversial subjects, such as the policy on illicit drugs, euthanasia, legislation surrounding health products, the Middle East Peace Process and the politics of Kashmir.
He is Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Drugs Misuse Group, Treasurer to the Warm Homes Group, Secretary to the Britain-Palestine Group and Treasurer of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. He was a Founder Member of The Environmental Audit Select Committee and is now a Member of The Science and Technology Select Committee.