PROPOSALS for a new landmark assisted dying bill have received an “unprecedented response”, according to the MSP behind them.

The public consultation was initiated by the Lib Dem MSP for Orkney Liam McArthur, who hopes to bring in a new Members Bill which seeks to change the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults in Scotland.

He believes the high level of ­response indicates “strong support” for a change in the law in Scotland which bans assisted dying.

His plans follow previous ­unsuccessful attempts by the late Margo MacDonald and then by the Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie to bring in legislation in this area, but McArthur believes more safeguards in his bill and the new make up of parliament will allow his proposals to pass.

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The consultation, which closed ­yesterday, detailed the proposals for a bill seeking to legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament Non-Government Bills Unit is now working alongside McArthur to process the consultation outcome.

Commenting, McArthur said: “I am grateful to everyone who took the time to submit their views on my ­proposals for ending the blanket ban on assisted dying in Scotland.

“I am especially grateful to all those who recounted deeply personal and often harrowing experiences which cannot have been easy to recall.

“The level of response has been ­unprecedented and shows that ­assisted dying is an issue that matters to people across the country.

“While it will take some time to validate and process responses, it appears there is strong support for a change in the law and a desire to see the Scottish Parliament take action.

“A range of views have been ­expressed in the responses with a number of suggestions made. These will all now be considered carefully, and I intend to publish all responses where I have permission to do so.

“A summary of the responses will be prepared and published, and I will then seek the support required from other MSPs to introduce a bill in the Parliament.

“It is especially important that we get this legislation right in terms of both compassion and safety and the public consultation was the first stage in this process.

“When I launched the proposals earlier this year I said that how we die is an issue for our whole society and that the consultation was in effect a nationwide discussion on what we need to do to give dying people the help and support they need to have a good death.

“There is clearly an appetite for that discussion and I look forward to continuing it with the public and within the Parliament over the months ahead.”

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Under McArthur’s plans terminally ill people who have lived in Scotland for more than a year would have the right to access assisted dying. Almost nine out 10 Scots (87% ) are said to support the introduction of the ­legislation.

The residency requirements are ­similar to those in legislation ­proposed in the Lords and in ­Ireland which, campaigners say, would ­prevent ­terminally ill patients ­travelling to Scotland as some currently do to Switzerland. A cross-party group of a dozen MSPs have already signalled their support for McArthur’s bid to “introduce safe and compassionate assisted dying laws in Scotland”.

The group, which includes former Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw, as well as Harvie and Green co-leader Lorna Slater, argued Scotland needed to change its laws so that those who are terminally ill can “be assured of dignified death”.