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Man with motor neurone disease announces intention to take right to die case

A man with motor neurone disease has announced his intention to take a legal case seeking the right to an assisted death. Humanist Phil Newby is seeking a change in the law ‘for anyone who has a progressive degenerative condition which is life-shortening’.

The news follows Humanists UK’s announcement in May that it is working with tetraplegic man Paul Lamb to bring a new assisted dying case for those who are of sound mind and are terminally ill or incurably suffering. Paul was effectively invited by the Supreme Court to bring forth a fresh case should Parliament fail to adequately resolve the issues with the law on assisted dying. Parliament did subsequently fail. Unlike those who have brought previous cases, Paul does not face any risk of losing for the same reasons that Noel Conway and Omid T lost theirs last year, namely because he cannot already end his life by removing medical assistance, such as a non-invasive ventilation, and because he does not propose to adopt a legal strategy which would necessitate cross-examining government witnesses.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented: ‘We support assisted dying for terminally ill people but also for those who are incurably suffering, which is Paul Lamb’s situation and we are continuing to champion Paul’s case. Nonetheless, any attempt to change the law in favour of assisted dying is a step in the right direction and we wish Phil the best of luck with his case.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293. To request an interview with Paul, further comment from him, or video footage, contact Humanists UK at the above number.

Read more about Paul Lamb.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaign for assisted dying reform.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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