Dame Jenni Murray voices support for referendum on legalising assisted dying

Dame Jenni Murray has voiced her support for a referendum on legalising assisted dying.

The former Woman’s Hour presenter recalled seeing her parents die some 16 years ago and said she wished they had been able to end their lives earlier.

The 71-year-old (pictured) is fronting an ITV documentary on the subject, prompted by Baroness Meacher’s Private Member’s Bill going through Parliament.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, she said: “My mother had Parkinson’s disease and had a year in a care home because my father just couldn’t help her physically anymore.

“I would go over every weekend to go and see her, and every time she would beg me to – she always called me Jen, not Jenny – ‘Jen, would you please help me die’. And there was nothing I could do about it.

“So, for a whole year she was there, she wasn’t able to do anything for herself. She was in a lot of pain and eventually she died alone, early one morning just before Christmas.

“Neither I nor my father could be with her. And she was almost a skeleton because the last thing that happened was she couldn’t swallow any more.”

Dame Jenni said her father had later attempted to end his own life by stopping eating and drinking, but she was able to convince him to go to hospital, where he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

“I was incredibly lucky to get him into the local hospice where he had the very best palliative care,” she said.

“And then, two weeks later, he died in my arms and that, in a way, was the death he would have chosen – to be with me.

“But he had definitely wanted to die and he knew he was terminally ill and he had been in a lot of pain.”

Dame Jenni spoke to campaigner Win Crew, whose husband died at a clinic in Switzerland nearly 20 years ago, for the documentary.

She said: “I know we are all a bit scared of referendums these days, nobody likes the word anymore.

“Win Crew said ‘So many people are in favour of this and my husband wanted this – and I think we should have a referendum. We should put it to the people to decide’.

“And I sort of kind of agree with her.”

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