This year we held fringes at Green, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, debating the difference between assisted dying and assisted suicide 50 years on from the Suicide Act.
With resounding support from attendees, the events were a great success. Backing was not limited to the party membership, in attendance were: Caroline Lucas MP, Julian Huppert MP, William Bain MP and Richard Ottaway MP, Peers Baroness Royall and Lord Dubs, Chris Davies MEP, Patron Sophie Pandit, campaigners Debbie Purdy and Robert Hayward, and our Chief Executive Sarah Wootton, who all gave informed and at times very moving accounts.
At each event I was struck by the calm and rational discussions and questions from the floor. We were able to provide, as always, evidence for a change in the law to allow terminally ill mentally competent adults the choice to control the manner and timing of their deaths. One delegate stood out for me when he said ‘I came here disagreeing with you and after what has been said I now fully support what you’re asking for.’ He, along with a large number of people, took membership forms before he left. Now more than ever I believe with our supporters we will get there – and it will be sooner than many people think.