MP joins debate over euthanasia

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NORTH Tyneside MP Mary Glindon is backing calls for the BBC to rethink its coverage of the ongoing debate over euthanasia.

Mrs Glindon has backed an early-day motion in the House of Commons calling on the broadcaster to ensure it remains impartial on the subject and has also added her signature to a letter to TV chiefs making the same point.

The former North Tyneside councillor said: “The BBC should be completely neutral on controversial issues such as euthanasia.

“The issue of assisted dying is hotly contested, but I have become increasingly worried that the BBC seems to have taken sides on the issue by showing so many programmes which are sympathetic to it.

“I have, therefore, backed a Commons motion and written to BBC bosses urging them to take action to ensure that the national broadcaster is totally impartial.

“By all means, let’s discuss this issue, but fairly.

“I am sure that there are genuine arguments on both sides, but we shouldn’t be bounced by the BBC or anyone else into taking actions that we could come to regret.”

The House of Commons has applauded a motion passed by the British Medical Association’s annual conference condemning assisted dying.

The calls follow criticism levelled at a series of BBC programmes for advocating euthanasia, including last month’s Choosing to Die, presented by the author Terry Pratchett.

In the show, Sir Terry accompanied motor neurone disease sufferer Michael Smedley, 71, of Guernsey, to the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland to film him taking a lethal dose of barbiturates.

The Discworld series author, an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer, has defended the show, saying: “Peter wanted to show the world what was happening and why he was doing it.

“You can tell in the film that I’m moved. The incongruity of the situation overtakes you. A man has died – that’s a bad thing. But he wanted to die – that’s a good thing.

“We didn’t try to make it charming or anything like that.”