Call for right to last rites to be enshrined in law

A Labour MP has called for priests’ rights to attend the dying – even at crime scenes – to be enshrined in law.

Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, has proposed an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently being scrutinised by Parliament.

The proposal comes after Father Jeffrey Woolnough was denied access to Belfairs Methodist Church where David Amess MP had been fatally stabbed.

During a tribute to David Amess in the House of Commons last week, Mr Kane spoke of the murdered MP’s Catholic faith.

He said: “He participated fully in the liturgy of the church. He participated fully in the sacraments of the church.

“While I have the attention of those on the frontbenches, Catholics believe that extreme unction helps guide the soul to God after death, so maybe we could come up with an Amess amendment so that no matter where it is, in a care home or at a crime scene, members, or anybody, can receive that sacrament.”

During a Mass at St Peter’s Church, Southend, last week, Fr Woolnaugh said: “The whole world grieves. In this Mass we pray for the repose of the soul of dear David.

“What can we say? He died doing the thing he loved, meeting his constituents, his local people.”

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