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Campaign against euthanasia law is tribute to honourable Lancastrian
Here’s my belated tribute to one of the most honourable men Lancashire has produced. After 40 years of friendship, I’ve still to find even one to speak against his character - indeed remarkable for a politician.
Yet how to praise a sometimes-shy man who preferred the focus of life to be on others rather than himself? Ken Hargreaves, former Mayor then MP of Hyndburn, lived to serve others so much so that this bachelor often seemed wedded to the people, as well as his Christian faith and God.
Perhaps it’s best to highlight one of his causes, and one great one is freshly topical this week.
A draft assisted-suicide Bill is launched with an invitation to submit your opinions. In November, Lord Falconer will then table a Private Members Bill asking the Lords to back powers for doctors to help dying patients kill themselves.
Ken, who himself suffered much with his terminal illness, campaigned hard against similar failed Bills in Parliament.
Such a Bill, he’d have argued, would pressure the sick and elderly to end their own lives to relieve family from the physical, financial and emotional burden of care. A ‘right’ to die could be easily pushed into a ‘duty’ to die.
Our present law protects against abuse by relatives, friends and doctors with long prison sentences while still allowing discretion in prosecution guidelines for very hard cases.
Very few want euthanasia when physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs are met, and it is here where we can best assist the dying.
My best tribute to Ken is to submit this column’s arguments to Lord Falconer’s consultation.