THE MP for North West Hampshire is leading the campaign to change the law on assisted death in the UK.

In his role as chairman of Dignity in Dying, Kit Malthouse has helped carry out research into the experiences of people who have been affected by the issue of right-to-die and explores the reality of the prohibition of assisted dying in the UK.

The report compiled by the all-party group found that the average cost of obtaining an assisted death overseas is £10,000, which means that the majority of people in the UK cannot afford to have one.

The requirement to be physically able to travel to Switzerland to have an assisted death also means that people are ending their lives much sooner than they might otherwise choose to, according to the report.

Mr Malthouse said: “It wasn’t long after I was elected as an MP that one of my constituents was assisted to die at Life Circle, another Swiss right-to-die organisation.

“I only learned of this afterwards when her partner came to see me, passionate in his desire to help others through the practical difficulties of the process.

“I can only guess how many more constituents may have made that terrible journey, or how many have investigated it but were unable to travel.

“Tragically it’s also impossible to know how many other dying people in my constituency have taken their own lives at home, traumatically, without the support of their doctors. It is certain that many more have suffered the misery of an agonising and protracted death.”

At present it is a crime to encourage or assist suicide and the offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

With end-of-life choice limited under the current law, many people seek to arrange an assisted death in Switzerland.

The MP added: “This report shines a light where too few policy makers have dared to look.

With no other safe option, many people in this country experience unimaginable suffering at the end of their lives.

“The findings are shocking, but they offer only a glimpse of what is a deep well of anguish.”

Dignity in Dying’s research reports that 80 per cent of people in Britain support a change to the law on assisted dying.