Who decides how your MP votes?

  Forum Editor 13:29 13 Sep 2015

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.

  Forum Editor 18:48 14 Sep 2015


That was quite a post. It is by far the most compelling justification for the need for greater consideration of this subject that I have ever read.

  morddwyd 07:22 15 Sep 2015

JB and FE

Thank you.

Obviously it was difficult but does give a personal perspective as opposed to the broad brush views, of both sides that we usually see.

  Forum Editor 08:10 15 Sep 2015

"Obviously it was difficult but does give a personal perspective...."

Yes, and that's what is important where this intensely human, emotive subject is concerned. It's one area where ethics theorists struggle to address the central issue - the question of the right for each of us to say to ourselves 'that's it, I am not going to endure this any more - it's my time to go'.

The big problem starts when an individual needs the cooperation of another person in order to act on the resolution. That's what the legislators tussle with, and rightly so, and it's where clinicians have a problem with their professional ethics - they spend their time working to preserve life.

As a society we are creeping towards a better understanding of the subject, but I think there's a long way to go yet.In the meantime many ordinary people like you and your wife are dealing with it in their own loving, dignified way. I salute you both.

  BT 08:26 15 Sep 2015

The big problem starts when an individual needs the cooperation of another person in order to act on the resolution.

This dilemma was addressed some years ago on Eastenders when Ethel asked Dot Cotton to 'Help'. As the Character of Dot is a committed Christian she had to fight her conscience to do this but eventually did get Ethel's pills for her that she had been saving for the eventuality. It was a very powerful storyline.

  Forum Editor 09:25 15 Sep 2015


I wonder how many people have got pills that they are "saving for the eventuality".

  Quickbeam 09:55 15 Sep 2015

..."saving for the eventuality".

Well that's certainly a thought provoking thought.

  spuds 10:19 15 Sep 2015

"does it matter - it was a free vote, after all."

And that is possibly the major part of all this. It being free, doesn't change the fact that we the public entrusted our MP's to make a major decision on our behalf, based on their own views and thoughts, possibly without even consulting the electorate.

My own MP occasionally sends me mailshots or assists were possible, but on no occasion as he ever suggested that a topic was going to be aired, and he was given the responsibility of a 'free vote', and what might be my views or those around me.

On this particular occasion, did he consult with any religious leaders, professional's in the medical field or even any charities dealing with this type of subject. It might be interesting to know, but what would be the point, the free vote as already been made!.

  spuds 10:39 15 Sep 2015

"I wonder how many people have got pills that they are "saving for the eventuality".

Quite a number of forum members often suggest and discuss about their ailments and the amount of daily medication they are instructed to use. And I am no different to those people, who have daily intake of drugs that I am told I require.

Mistakes and errors can be made, especially if your mind wanders on certain days, so it might not be a case of "saving for the eventuality", but just a genuine mistake or error. And I think this needs looking into context, on how drugs are being administered and dispensed on a daily basis!.

Doctor Shipman brought reality to this subject of drug collection a few years ago, but at the same time, is it not a crazy world when paracetamol was easily available in bottles of 100, then the law decided that paracetamol could only be obtained in packets of 16 or two packets at the most at any one time, because of the possibility of overdosing. What is stopping anyone from walking a few yards down a road and purchasing further supplies. But I suppose the law makers decided that was the going to be the most suitable way to combat overdosing on paracetamol (food for thought perhaps)!

  Dragon_Heart 11:33 15 Sep 2015

So the question is 'Who decides how your MP votes ?'

OK so lets just say a subject is not decided by a 'free vote' but a standard 'Yes / No' vote. The MP represents would normally follow their own party's policy and observe the call from the party 'Whip'.

So just imagine if the 'subject' involved the closing down of a large works in the MP's constituency and he / she had already received many 1000's of letters, emails and phone calls from his residents objecting to the move.

Would he / she feel fully justified in going against party policy and the party whip and vote against the decision ?

If it was within a marginal constituency the MP may feel his or her vote may well decide if they are re-elected next time.

The next time the ruling party wishes to change a parliamentary boundary look what not necessary who the change effects.

  BT 12:44 15 Sep 2015

paracetamol could only be obtained in packets of 16 or two packets at the most at any one time, because of the possibility of overdosing

You wouldn't even need to walk down the road. You could buy 32 in the Pharmacy in Tesco and another 2 packs of 16 with your shopping, more than enough to do you untold harm even if they didn't kill you. Just 8 in one go could cause serious if not fatal liver damage. On the subject of Prescribed drugs, Co-Proxamol was removed from routine prescriptions some years ago because people were using them to commit suicide even though they were an excellent pain killer, and limits on buying Paracetamol and other pain killers over the counter.

My Doctor allows me 100 Paracetamol and 100 Codeine Phosphate every month and it would be very easy to hoard as many as I needed if I felt so inclined.

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