NICOLA Sturgeon is to be asked to consider revised plans for Margo’s Law by a leading SNP activist who watched his grandmother suffer in extreme pain in the final days of her life.

Josh Aaron-Mennie is to put proposals to the SNP annual conference next month which could lead to new assisted dying legislation being published in Holyrood after the election next May.

The bereaved 26-year-old is currently drafting a resolution which will be submitted to the event being held online for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He will set out his reasons for why he believes the law must be changed and is hopeful that delegates will back his proposals.

Aaron-Mennie helped look after his grandmother Mary Ryan, who lived for most of her life Aberdeen, as she endured a prolonged death after being diagnosed with terminal throat cancer.

He sat beside Mary’s bedside for 18 days as she went through what he described as “insufferable pain” before she passed away on August 25 at the age of 84.

She repeatedly pleaded to die and endured 13 days without food and water, he added.

“No one should ever experience what my grandma had to in her dying days,” Aaron-Mennie told The Sunday National.

“She went through insufferable pain in her final weeks and was pleading to die. I want to try and make sure no one else has to die in such a way.

“My proposals say that when someone is declared to be in palliative care, they are at the end of their life and they are in excruciating pain that that individual or their loved ones should be able to come to a solution to address that person’s wishes.”

The former SNP deputy leader and independent MSP Margo MacDonald first championed measures to make it easier for doctors to help terminally ill people end their life in a dignified matter.

Her attempt ended in a resounding defeat in Holyrood in 2010.

The veteran campaining politician, who had Parkinson’s disease, died, aged 70, in April 2014.

Her bid was taken up the following year bythe Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener. But his Assisted Suicide Bill also failed to get through the Scottish Parliament.

However, Aaron-Mennie hopes his revised proposals – which would specify that a patient would need to be in severe pain and in the final weeks of life before a doctor could be allowed to help him or her to die – will be successful.

Aaron-Mennie, who is convener of the Out for Independence group and a member of the SNP’s National Executive Committee, is also hopeful that a new intake of MSPs – many of them who are likely to be younger people with a socially liberal outlook – will boost any future bill’s chances of passing through Holyrood.

The social care worker says he is aware of a number of MSPs and ministers who would be ready to support legislation if his resolution is passed at the SNP conference.

“I have a list of names of MSPs and ministers who I know are supportive. I will be working with them to push it forward,” he said.

A poll published when Harvie’s bill was being debated in Holyrood in 2015 suggested most Scots were in favour of legalising assisted suicide.

Some 64% of of those questioned by researchers at Survation backed his proposals, with 14% opposed and 22% undecided.

Ally Thomson, director at Dignity in Dying Scotland, welcomed Aaron-Mennie’s campaign which she hoped would see updated proposals on assisted dying return to Holyrood.

“Josh’s family have been through a harrowing experience – his grandmother’s sad death was marked with unnecessary pain and suffering , creating increased trauma and complex grief for those who loved her and watched her pain, unable to help,” she said.

“Complex grief has symptoms similar to post traumatic stress disorder and dying Scots and their families deserve better.

“Sadly we know that this is not an isolated case and that even the best care has limits – at least eleven Scots a week suffer a bad death.

“Even with access to palliative care, a significant minority of people will still experience unbearable and unrelieved suffering as they die. They are the collateral damage of a prohibition on assisted dying in Scotland.”

She added: “Assisted dying presents a safe, humane option which would increase the quality of life and death for a great many dying people. The issue is very real and very current for families across the country and one the next Scottish Parliament can not ignore.

“We call on MSPs to listen to dying people and their families, acknowledge the overwhelming public support for a change in the law on assisted dying and an ever increasing number of jurisdictions around the world embracing such a change and act to introduce a compassionate and safe alternative to prolonged suffering for our dying citizens.”

Polls suggest that the SNP is on course for a record fourth term in government following the Holyrood election in May with the party expected to be able to form a majority administration.