Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Monday, 29 November 2010

End of Life Assistance Bill debate

MSPs threw out the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill after its first stage debate in the chamber on 1 December 2010.

The Scottish Parliament voted by 85 votes to 16 with two abstentions to reject the bill to legalise assisted suicide.

The Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who has Parkinsons disease, wanted a change in the law to give terminally ill people the right to die.

But after a debate at Holyrood and a rare free vote, Ms MacDonald did not win enough support to get the measures through.

She has pledged to try to get the measures through again, if she is re-elected.

The bill was previously rejected by the committee set up to look at it, on the grounds it was not persuaded to decriminalise homicide as it applied to assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

That was a view echoed by members in the debate among them the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

Other concerns about the bill centred on issues such as how to define what constituted intolerable as an eligibility test for those seeking help to die and how to determine whether someone has not been subject to 'undue influence' when deciding to end their life.

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