Dame Esther Rantzen collected over 9,000 signatures on the assisted dying petition (Image: Getty)
The appeal by this newspaper and campaign group Dignity in Dying calls for rights that would allow the terminally ill and seriously sick to choose how and when to die under our Give Us Our Last Rights crusade.
I’m A Celebrity star Nicola McLean, 42, expressed her support for the cause yesterday, saying she has signed the petition and is asking for others to do so.
It was in the jungle in 2008 that she met Dame Esther, 83, who set up the charity Childline to protect children in 1986 and The Silver Line to comfort lonely older people in 2013.
TV personality Nicola said: “Esther is asking for the public to get behind patients like her.
“I love her. She’s such a lovely woman. She’s had an unbelievable career, she’s a fantastic mother.
“I totally back her to be able to make her own decision, rather than going in a terrible way.
“She can make a choice then and her family will know when it’s going to happen. I know her daughter’s saying, ‘Don’t judge me and don’t say that I want my mum to die’ because my mum’s my ‘person’. I want to respect her choice.”
McLean added: “We all should be able to make a choice. I’d definitely be getting behind Esther.”
Former Foreign Office minister Zac Goldsmith said: “Thank you to the great Esther Rantzen for putting this issue high up the political agenda.”
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said: “The Give Us Our Last Rights campaign has demonstrated time and time again that choice at the end of life is an issue that affects all of us.”
It is currently a criminal offence, under the Suicide Act 1961, to help someone to take their own life, punishable by up to 14 years in jail.
Eight years ago MPs voted 330 to 118 against changing law.
But campaigners say opinions have changed dramatically.
At 10,000 signatures, the Government will respond to the petition and at 100,000, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
To sign the petition, please go to petition.parliament.uk/petitions/653593.