Who decides how your MP votes?

  Forum Editor 13:29 13 Sep 2015
Locked

The recent rejection by parliament of the bill to allow the 'Right to Die' set me thinking about how MPs vote.

This wa a 'free vote' allowing MPs to vote according to their conscience, and they voted against the bill by a majority of 212 - a decisive majority by any standard.

Sarah Wootton, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the result was an "outrage". She claims that MPs voted against the views of the majority of the public who supported the bill.

Did they - does the majority of the electorate want some terminaly ill people to be able to end their lives with medical supervision? If that's true, were MPs voting against their constituents' wishes, and if they did, does it matter - it was a free vote, after all.

  Flak999 14:00 13 Sep 2015

I must say that I am in agreement with some form of 'Right to Die' legislation. I witnessed and lived through the last three years of my own Fathers life after he had suffered a catastrophic stroke that left him with no quality of life at all.

He died in the end from septicaemia from a gangrenous left leg brought on by peripheral vascular disease. I know (because he told me) that he would have welcomed the ability to have picked the time of his own death surrounded by his family in familiar surroundings and not forced on to the comatose bitter end pumped full of morphine.

I feel this change will come hopefully in my lifetime so I can choose what is after all the greatest human right.

The right to pick the time and place of my own death!

  spuds 14:04 13 Sep 2015

"were MPs voting against their constituents' wishes, and if they did, does it matter - it was a free vote, after all."

I would not have a clue about constituent's wishes on this subject, but how many MP's consulted with their constituent's before making their decision, and no doubt to that, the answer will remain a mystery, unless all of us decide to ask our elected MP, and they decide to tell us.

"Sarah Wootton, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the result was an "outrage". She claims that MPs voted against the views of the majority of the public who supported the bill."

I would imagine that this person should have more knowledge and possible feedbacks from the public, for her to make a statement like that. But I suppose there are people who would seriously consider that "she would say that anyway". Its part of her job, isn't it?.

Regarding the factor of a 'free vote', I truly wonder how free it might have been, if that particular MP didn't want to rock the boat, so to say?.

Personally and perhaps off subject, every time I visit an hospital for an operation, could I say that the surgeon might end my life with dignity, and very few people would even care!.

  spuds 14:07 13 Sep 2015

Flak999

"The right to pick the time and place of my own death"

But you already have this option, even suicide is looked on nowadays with less pain or concern. Or is it?.

  bremner 16:09 13 Sep 2015

Do MP's vote against the wishes of the majority of their constituents?

Yes they often do.

Many many MP's were elected into office by less than 50% of the popular vote let alone 50% of the electorate so MP's following a party whip will vote against the majority wishes of their electorate. However that is our form of democracy.

I am sure some MP's will consider views in their constituency when making a "free vote" but unless they polled their electorate how could they decide.

I do think however that really fundamental issues such as the right to die, capital punishment and ceding political power to Europe should have been considered so important that a referendum should be used to make the decision.

  Quickbeam 16:21 13 Sep 2015

It's an argument that's slowly coming round to the yes in favour line of thought, and that's probably wise as it's such a radical and contentious issue.

If it takes another 30 or 40 years to get there as another generation comes and goes with different views to today's, and without the feeling of betrayal and the accusation of a Logan's run society, then that's probably the right timespan for the change.

Personally I wouldn't want to spend my last 20 years drooling in a carehome unaware of what was going on in the world. I'd be happier to kill myself in a biking accident next week living a full life than that. And anyone that keeps any kind of animal will know that part of keeping a pet is realising when the day has arrived to call an end to a good life that is no more.

  Flak999 17:40 13 Sep 2015

spuds

"But you already have this option,"

If you are able bodied you do yes, not if you are bed bound and cannot move your arms or legs because of a stroke!

  wee eddie 17:42 13 Sep 2015

Time to go out and score sufficient Coke to call it a day.

The big question: Does Coke have a "Best Before" Date?

  Forum Editor 18:42 13 Sep 2015

Flak999

"If you are able bodied you do yes, not if you are bed bound and cannot move your arms or legs because of a stroke!"

Under the proposals, terminally ill people with fewer than six months to live could have been prescribed a lethal dose of drugs, which they had to be able to take themselves. Two doctors and a High Court judge would have needed to approve each case.

  Flak999 21:00 13 Sep 2015

Forum Editor

Obviously there need to be checks and balances with every piece of legislation, and all I can say is where there is a will there is a way! I sat by my Fathers bed during the long night watch, for the last week of his life. He was connected to a morphine driver which kept him in an unconscious state for most of the time. It had a manual override button on it which I could have pressed to have given him a lethal dose.

I didn't do it, but during many dark nights of the soul I contemplated that action, it would have been the last act of kindness I could have given him, but for my Mothers sake I refrained.

I felt like a coward then and I do still!

  morddwyd 21:07 13 Sep 2015

To answer the actual question, it is normally the party whips, but on a free such as that described I think most MPs vote with their own feelings rather than as their constituents would wish.

In a large number of constituencies a majority would be in favour of deporting illegals and overstayers, similarly, many would be in favour of capital punishment but very few MPs would vote in such a way.

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