Dame Prue Leith: Bake Off star tells of brother’s ‘absolute agony’ before his death as she campaigns for assisted dying | UK News

Bake Off star Dame Prue Leith has told Sky News of her older brother’s “absolute agony” before his death, as she campaigns for assisted dying.

Under the Suicide Act 1961, it is a criminal offence to help someone take their own life, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Dame Prue, who is patron of Dignity in Dying, said her brother David died in pain from bone cancer in 2012.

“He was spending every three weeks out of four in absolute agony” before his death, she told The UK Tonight with Sarah-Jane Mee.

“For his family to be round while he was crying, begging to die, begging to be given more morphine, it was desperate to watch.”

Dame Prue, who is a judge on TV show The Great British Bake Off, then said: “I’m 84 so I think about this quite often, my younger brother had a really good death, my older brother had the one we described.

“And honestly, I want to die like my younger brother died. At home, free of pain.”

Last May, Dame Prue wrote an open letter to party leaders asking for a debate in parliament on assisted dying, and said that terminally ill people are currently forced “to choose between suffering, suicide and Switzerland”.

She also wrote that “for every day that passes until we reform our law, 17 people will suffer as they die”. So far, the open letter has garnered at least 236,000 signatures, just shy of the 250,000 target.

Dame Prue Leith attending a reception at the House of Lords in London, about assisted dying. File pic: PA
The star is a patron of Dignity in Dying. File pic: PA

The campaigner said “we’ve had quite good responses” from party leaders so far, and added: “Every single poll that asks people about this has an overwhelming majority in favour of the law being changed so that you don’t have that stark choice.”

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From March: Should govt pass assisted dying bill?

Dame Prue then said: “I feel quite hopeful about this. I think we’re going to have a new government, the word is getting out, more and more MPs are getting over to our side.

“I think in the next parliament, we’re going to have an assisted dying bill that will be humane. In the years to come, people will look back and think ‘why on earth didn’t they do that before?'”

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Presenter Sarah-Jane Mee also asked Dame Prue about her son, Conservative MP Danny Kruger, who opposes the legalisation of assisted dying.

“A lot of Daniel’s arguments is about the worry of not having proper safeguards,” she said, “of people being, you know, bullied into dying by greedy families who want to inherit their money or maybe more sinisterly, by a system”.

“You know, the idea that the NHS, which is desperate for the beds that have been cluttered up at the moment by old people who have nowhere else to go, will sort of suggest to them that they ought to choose an assisted death.

“I think that that’s nonsense.”

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