I presume this is because his supporters believe this view will be popular with Liberal Democrat members - and also believe it is country into which Tim Farron will not be prepared to follow him.
|G.F. Watts: Love and Death|
People who are terminally-ill and suffering should have the right to end their lives with the support of their families and medical professionals, says health minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
Today, he explains to EDP readers why he has changed his mind on this emotive subject in advance of a vote in the House of Lords on a bill on assisted dying which could herald a change in the law. He says: "If I found myself in that situation, I know that I would like to have the choice."
In the past, I have opposed any attempt to legalise "assisted dying". I share the concerns many people have that any change in the law could result in frail older people being put under pressure from relatives. I have sympathy with those who say that the risk to many vulnerable individuals of legalising assisted dying outweighs the benefits. And I also understand those who object to this on religious grounds.
All of these concerns are legitimate, and must be considered carefully. But in recent years, I have changed my mind on this issue of such profound importance.Yes, it is a hugely different issue - and certainly not one that should be made a litmus test of your liberalism.
For what it is worth, I agree with Norman on the principle that "it is right to give people choice about how they end their lives where they are terminally ill and suffering".
But how you frame and enforce the "rigorous safeguards" he calls for, goodness alone knows.
I attended a riveting panel debate on just this subject in my day job earlier this year.
"Good doctors break the rules sometimes," said someone confidently from the floor.
"Yes," said one of the panelists, "but the trouble is bad doctors break them too."