Veteran Lib Dem Councillor hits out at Lib Dem MSP’s ‘assisted dying’ proposals

A long-serving Lib Dem Councillor and past president of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has hit out at assisted suicide proposals brought forward by party colleague Liam McArthur MSP.

In a letter to The Herald today, Eileen McCartin said:

“There are many members and supporters of the Libdems who firmly oppose the proposals being put forward. It is not just people with religious convictions who oppose euthanasia. It is opposed also by many who see what is happening in other countries that have previously brought in euthanasia laws, with all their supposed safeguards, who are now widening out proposals for those who might be included in categories able to access euthanasia services.

“The fact that some people want this service doesn’t mean we should legislate for it...There are those who say that many safeguards will be put in place, both for the medical profession and to protect those who may, in time, be vulnerable either to persuasion by others, directly or indirectly, to end their lives…Actions in The Netherlands, Belgium and elsewhere show that, once started, this opens the way to the ‘slippery slope’”.

Eileen McCartin has been a Councillor in Paisley for more than 30 years. She has also stood as a candidate for the party, at both Westminster and Holyrood elections. In 2015, she was elected president of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, succeeding Malcolm Bruce.

Ms McCartin is the second high-profile Lib Dem to speak out against Liam McArthur’s proposals in recent months, with Lord Wallace, a former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, also warning against a change in the law.

A spokesman for the Better Way campaign, which opposes assisted suicide, said:

“Ms McCartin’s intervention shows just how controversial Liam McArthur’s proposals are. They are strongly opposed by many Libdem members and supporters who know the dangers assisted suicide poses to vulnerable and marginalised citizens. As she notes in her letter, safeguards are a misnomer. They always fail. Laws are inevitably extended, undermining the worth, safety, and equality of many groups in society. MSPs of all parties must keep the door to assisted suicide and euthanasia shut.”

Notes to Editors

Information about Eileen McCartin:

Eileen McCartin to become President of Scottish Liberal Democrats (

Lord Wallace intervention:

Assisted dying Scotland: Jim Wallace says Kirk remains opposed to Bill | HeraldScotland

The Better Way campaign is supported by:

Dr Miro Griffiths, Leverhulme Research Fellow in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, and policy adviser to regional, national, and supranational bodies; Phil Friend, Chair of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), Vice Chair of the Activity Alliance, a Churchill Fellow and a former chair of Disability Rights UK and RADAR; Dr Kevin Yuill, a lecturer in History at the University of Sunderland and author of Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalisation; Dr Ashley Frawley, senior lecturer in sociology and social policy at Swansea University in Wales; David Albert Jones MA (Cantab), MA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon), Professor of Bioethics at St Mary’s University, a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre; Joel Zivot MD, FRCP(C) MA, practicing anesthesiologist, intensive care doctor and expert witness.

Issued on behalf of Better Way by Jamie Gillies | 07384467819