Labour peer Lord Joel Joffe has joined other assisted dying campaigners in praising Melksham locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson.
Lord Joffe said his ‘incredible courage’ would eventually lead to a change in the law, under which those who help people end their lives currently face prosecution for murder.
Mr Nicklinson, 58, died at his Thames Crescent home in Melksham last Wednes-day after contracting pneumonia, just days after he lost his High Court battle for doctors to be allowed to end his life of ‘pure torture’.
“I think Tony Nicklinson’s incredible courage and determination has persuaded society the law must be changed to prevent terrible suffering,” said the peer.
“Tony correctly felt there needed to be a change in the law to permit him to end his life, and it is clear we do need a change in the law – the law must seek to find such a solution.
“MPs are not listening to society, their job is to take account of the views of their constituents and 80 per cent of the public is in favour of a change in the law.”
He added that former Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer, who visited Mr Nicklinson to discuss the issue, will be introducing a new Bill on assisted dying in Parliament next year.
Lord Falconer himself described Mr Nicklinson as a ‘remarkable man’, saying: “Tony, perhaps more than anyone in recent times, has drawn attention to the issue of the extent to which you should have control over your own death.
“He has put the issue on the agenda because of his personal strength and immense clarity.”
A fellow locked-in syndrome sufferer, known as ‘Martin’, who lost his High Court case at the same time, has announced he will appeal.
l Mr Nicklinson’s family will be holding a small, private, family funeral.