Paralysed ex-builder pledges new legal fight for assisted dying law change
A paralysed former builder has vowed to start a new legal fight to change the law on assisted dying.
Paul Lamb lost a right-to-die bid in the Supreme Court in 2014.
Now aged 63, Mr Lamb said he has “watched and waited” since then as laws on the sensitive issue have been reformed around the world.
He is calling for an end to the UK’s “cruel and discriminatory law” which prohibits assisted dying.
Mr Lamb said: “I am paralysed from the neck down and live in a state of constant pain.
“In the future my suffering will inevitably become too much to bear. When that happens, I want to be able to control and choose the circumstances of my death.
“As the law stands, my only option would be to die through the inhumane process of dehydration and starvation. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.
“Five years ago, I asked our courts to give me the right to control my own death and they told me to wait.
“Since then I have watched and waited as new evidence has emerged and progressive countries have given millions of others the choice I have asked for.
“And still the UK Parliament has done nothing. I have no option but to ask the court to intervene again. I need them to help me, and many others in my position, to end this cruel and discriminatory law.”
Mr Lamb, who is supported in his efforts by Humanists UK and represented by law firm Leigh Day, has written to the Justice Secretary David Gauke, saying current law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
He has asked Mr Gauke to “undertake to take timely steps to remedy the incompatibility, either by employing the remedial power provided by section 10(2) of the Human Rights Act 1998 or by introducing and promoting an appropriate bill in Parliament”.
Humanists UK chief executive Andrew Copson said: “We are delighted by the news that Paul intends to bring this landmark case and challenge such a heartless law.
“Paul’s case seeks a more compassionate law, as it will give those who are terminally ill or incurably suffering the dignity they deserve. We will back him at every stage.”
But Dr Gordon Macdonald, chief executive of Care Not Killing, said the current law is the “safest law”.
He said: “We are disappointed that yet another unnecessary legal challenge is being brought.
“There have been numerous attempts to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia through the courts, all of which have failed, because the judges recognise the limitation of Article 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“They also said this is a matter for parliamentarians, who have looked at the legislation in detail and rejected weakening our current laws.”