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Tanni Grey-Thompson warns change to assisted dying law could leave disabled people with no choice

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has warned changes to the law around assisted dying could leave disabled people with no choice but to end their lives.

The former wheelchair racer, 54, said she has sympathy for people like Dame Esther Rantzen, who revealed she was considering ending her own life if treatment for her lung cancer did not improve her condition.

The 83-year-old broadcaster has joined Swiss clinic Dignitas, which lets people have an assisted death, but her family could currently be prosecuted if they were to travel there with her.

She told the BBC it was "important that the law catches up with what the country wants" and is urging MPs to debate the issue in Parliament.

But Baroness Grey-Thompson is against a change in the law, arguing that nobody needs to die a "terrible death" if they have access to specialist palliative care.

"There are really big consequences if you change the law and the relationship between an individual and society fundamentally changes," she told Sky's Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

She warned changes to assisted dying laws, such as those seen in countries including Canada, could risk stripping disabled people of the choice.

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"We all have different levels of choice," said Baroness Grey-Thompson, who is considered one of Britain's greatest Paralympic athletes with 11 gold medals.

"I'm really worried that disabled people, because of the cost of health and social care, because that's being removed, that choice is then taken away so the only choice they have is to end their lives."

Assisted dying is banned in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with those convicted facing up to 14 years in jail.

In Scotland, it is not a specific criminal offence, but assisting the death of someone can leave a person open to murder or other charges.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: "I think the law is fine where it is. We should keep debating it but people really need to understand the consequences of a law change.

"The consequences for people who don't have a choice are really serious."