Bishop of Worcester urges MPs to vote against assisted dying plans after wife's cancer death

Like many churchmen, John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, opposes the legalisation of assisted dying. But he says his perspective has not only been shaped by his faith, but by his wife.

On Easter Day last year, Denise Inge died from abdominal sarcoma at the age of 51.

Almost a year earlier, she was given a bleak prognosis - and offered chemotherapy which had, she was told, a one-in-four chance of having any benefit.

But he describes the months that followed as being filled with “many delicious moments” because she chose to live. Had the option of an assisted death been available to her in Britain, he suspects her fear of being “a burden” to her loved ones might have prompted her to end her life.

For many opponents of the Assisted Dying Bill, the Bishop’s fears reflect theirs. They are concerned that all our attitudes towards life and death might be altered if the proposed bill becomes law. They suspect that some sick and elderly people might feel obliged to chose death.

Next Friday, the bill will be debated in the House of Commons. It would allow patients to end their lives if they have no more than six months to live. As well as having to demonstrate a “clear and settled intention”, two doctors would need to sign off their request.

This is the law that Bob Cole wanted - the 68 year old who went to Dignitas last month, accompanied by ITV News. I travelled with him to Switzerland where he took his own life, a year after his wife Ann did precisely the same thing at the same clinic.

During his final days, he argued that current laws ensure a “dying household pet would be shown more compassion” than he was.

Bob Cole, who died at Dignitas last month, supported the Assisted Dying Bill. Credit: ITV News

“When you're curled up at the end of the bed in the early hours of the morning like a dog crouching because the pain is so intense... my mind is made up. It's about quality of life,” he said.

Bob and his wife’s experiences gave him a powerful and important perspective on assisted death.

The Bishop of Worcester says precisely the same thing.