1. ITV Report

Terminally ill ex-Oftsed chief backs assisted dying bill as he admits, 'I considered starving myself to death'

Sir Chris Woodhead, who suffers from motor neurone disease has called for assisted suicide to be legalised. Credit: ITV News

Sir Chris Woodhead, England's former chief inspector of schools, regularly hit the headlines with his high-profile and occasionally controversial remarks as Ofsted chief from 1996 to 2000.

Now the 67-year-old is putting himself back in the public eye as a fierce advocate for assisted dying.

As a sufferer of motor neurone disease, he admits that he has considered committing suicide in the only way open to him - by starving himself to death - a situation he told ITV News is "inhumane".

"I thought last winter, had the time come, to starve and dehydrate myself to death," he said.

"What stopped me was partly my own cowardice - I didn't want to die a protracted death in that way - but also the knowledge that those nearest and dearest to me didn't have to witness the anguish of my last few days. I think that that is inhumane."

He dismissed critics of the bill who argue that it could be left open to abuse of vulnerable people.

"I'm not convinced that we have hundreds of thousands of wicked people in this country who are waiting to bump off their elderly relatives if they got have the chance," he said. "I do think that it's perfectly possible to build in the kind of safeguards that would protect those who need protection."

Lord Falconer, the man behind the bill to allow "assisted dying" in Britain told ITV News that sufficient safety checks have been enshrined in the bill to protect people from being "pressured" into ending their lives.

However, Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, a campaigner against the bill, said that people needed help to live, rather than to die, and said that the bill would remove protection from patients and giving it instead to doctors.

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