The charity LIFE is telling MPs and peers to be wary of the lord chancellor's sudden intervention on Wednesday in the debate on the Mental Capacity Bill in which assurances were given that the Government did not want to 'authorise any decision where the motive is to kill, as opposed to relieving or preventing suffering'. LIFE says: "if this is so, why did the Department of Constitutional Affairs, which has been in charge of this legislation, say it months ago? Why this last-minute statement given to the Catholic archbishop of Cardiff and made public during yesterday's debate? "And if this assurance is sincere why was the Bill so drafted as to allow deliberate killing by omission (i.e. denial of food and fluids to patients) despite the repeated complaints that it opened the backdoor to euthanasia? "We are reminded of what happened in 1967 when David Steel's Abortion Bill was being debated. Again and again we were told that the Bill would not open the floodgates. Its purpose was merely to clarify the law, we were told. And what happened? The floodgates opened. "One can only hope that Lord Falconer's public assurance to Archbishop Smith, which looks like a deliberate piece of 'spinning', be used by prolife MPs and peers to overturn the Government's underhand attempt to licence euthanasia by omission which would surely be the first step to licensing euthanasia by a direct action, i.e. by commission. "Like his Government, Mr Blair has played a devious game and carefully slipped away from the Commons yesterday before voting began. This did not stop him from imposing a three-line whip on Labour MPs to support the Bill - a disgraceful refusal to allow his party the right to follow conscience."
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