In Praise of Parliament image

In Praise of Parliament

Very often the politics and Parliament of the United Kingdom are derided as facile, ineffective and out of touch. Politicians as a body fail to command much respect and the workings of Parliament itself can seem anachronistic and boorish. Yesterday, however, the debate on the Assisted Dying Bill showed Parliament and politicians at their very best.

I do not say this simply because Parliament voted comprehensively against the Bill, as I hoped it would, but because of the quality of the debate. On all sides contributions were thoughtful, informed and often seasoned with profound personal experiences of sickness and the death of loved ones. There was a dignity and thoroughness to the debate that commended all who took part in it - and the number of MPs who attended was itself impressive, with the House far fuller than would normally be the case on a Friday.

I am very grateful that the Bill was defeated in such resounding fashion, and hope that this means the matter will not be brought before Parliament again for a considerable time. But the nature of the debate also made me glad again to live in the country I do, under the system of government that operates here. Democracy is often derided as the least worst option for government, but yesterday we saw democracy at its finest, and extremely impressive it was.

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