Who is ex-Labour MP Frank Field and what illness does he have?

FORMER Labour MP Frank Field has revealed he is terminally ill.

The 79-year-old has spent time in a hospice and is now backing plans to legalise assisted dying after watching a friend go through the "full horror effects" of cancer.

Who is ex-Labour MP Frank Field?

Frank Field is a British politician from Edmonton, north London.

He was MP for Birkenhead in the Wirral, Merseyside, from 1979 to 2019.

Among his most notable positions was that of Welfare Reform Minister in Tony Blair's first Cabinet from 1997 to 1998.

Though he later resigned after "differences" with the Prime Minister, and, in 2018, resigned the Labour whip citing anti-Semitism in the party.

He went on to form the Birkenhead Social Justice Party, but was beaten by the Labour candidate Mick Whitley in the 2019 general election.

Throughout his career, Field has shown support for numerous causes including pensions reform, ending child poverty and modern slavery, and increasing pay for those on low incomes.

He also believes that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our society, according to his website.

Field has never married or had children, but his friends have described him as having a "full life outside of politics".

In March 2015, he collapsed during a public meeting, reportedly following a heated exchange, and was admitted to hospital.

And in October 2021, Field revealed he is terminally ill and has spent time in a hospice.

What illness does Frank Field have?

Field has not told what illness he has, but he has said it is terminal.

Several high profile figures have sent their best wishes since he revealed he was dying.

Among them was Health Secretary Sajid Javid who described Field as "an amazing, compassionate man".

What has Frank Field said about assisted suicide?

Field has revealed his support of a law that allows assisted dying.

Peers are debating in the House of Lords whether to permit people with a short time left to live to choose when they die.

This would be on the provision that two doctors agree the person is mentally competent, they have fewer than six months left, and they actively want the right to choose.

In an emotional statement read to fellow peers on behalf of Field, Baroness Meacher, who is leading the bill, said: "Our colleague, Lord Field, who is dying, asked me to read out a short statement.

"I have just spent a period in a hospice and I am not well enough to participate in today's debate.

"If I had been, I would have spoken strongly in favour of a second reading.

"I changed my mind on assisted dying when an MP friend was dying of cancer and wanted to die early before the full horror effects set in but was denied this opportunity.

"I hope the House will today vote for the Assisted Dying Bill."

He added that concerns that people might be pressured to end their lives were "unfounded".

There have been several attempts to introduce similar laws in the past, but each has been defeated.

The debate which Field was unable to attend was the first time the issue had been debated in Parliament for more than six years.

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