Guest Column

Group cries foul as officials nullify thousands of public objections to Scotland assisted suicide bill


(Right to Life UK) 3,526 submissions from members of the public to the consultation on Liam McArthur’s assisted suicide Bill has been removed, resulting in calls for the Scottish Government to conduct an urgent independent review of the handling of the consultation process.

Liam McArthur conducted a consultation on his assisted suicide Bill that closed on 22 December 2021, with the results of the consultation released today. The consultation report outlined that Liam McArthur has chosen to remove all consultation submissions from members of the public who were mobilised to make a submission through a campaign run by Right To Life UK, which encouraged members of the public to submit to the consultation.

Right To Life UK’s internal systems show that 3,526 submissions to the consultation were made from members of the public off the back of the campaign, all opposing assisted suicide, and the consultation report states that all submissions made off the back of that campaign were removed.

These submissions were made by members of the public who provided all the contact details that the consultation required to be included with each individual submission.

The largest assisted suicide lobby group in the country, Dignity in Dying, also mobilised supporters to submit to the consultation, but there is no mention in the report of removing submissions from members of the public who were mobilised to submit by that campaign.

READ: Doctors group in Scotland refuses to participate in assisted suicide if legalized

The consultation report claims that all the submissions mobilised by the Right To Life UK campaign were removed because some of them used either identical or similar language when describing their opposition to assisted suicide. There was no mention when the consultation launched that if submissions used similar language, they would be removed, along with all other submissions that were mobilised by a given campaign.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Members of the public made submissions to the consultation off the back of a campaign we ran to mobilise people to submit to the consultation”.

“Liam McArthur appears to have rigged the outcome of the consultation by removing all 3,526 submissions made off the back of this campaign. Funnily enough, all these submissions opposed his Bill, but when it came to submissions mobilised by pro-assisted suicide organisations that supported this bill, they were not removed”.

“This is the type of tactic one would expect to see used in a crackpot dictatorship where elections are rigged; instead we see a Scottish politician using it to rig a consultation so that he can claim there is more support for the Bill than there really is”.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently undertake an independent review of the handling of this consultation and ensure that all members of the public who made their voices heard through making a submission are included in the results of this consultation, regardless of their stance on assisted suicide”.

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