BBC News is headlining Gordon Brown’s surprising announcement today that he prefers "a system of "presumed consent" – where hospitals could take organs unless a person had explicitly opted out before death or their family objects". The Prime Minister believes that thousands of lives might be saved by such a policy shift and he writes about the issue for The Sunday Telegraph.
Surprisingly Andrew Marr didn’t ask David Cameron about the issue during their interview earlier. Shadow Health secretary Andrew Lansley has just issued this statement, however:
“I urge people to consider organ donation and if willing, to put their name on the register. The Government’s responsibility is to encourage registration and ensure transplant co-ordinators and transplant nurses are in place so that when organs are made available they are used for transplants. Only four years ago, Gordon Brown and Alan Johnson voted against assumed consent in organ donations on the basis that there was no public support, they said that there were better ways of increasing donations and that the State should not determine what happens to people’s bodies after death. Parliament concluded that to take organs without consent was wrong. It is neither right nor necessary for us to change that view”.
The Westmonster blog thinks that the spinmeisters who are allowing Brown to be painted as an organ harvester should be fired:
"The Prime Minister is plummeting in the polls. The government is seen as encroaching on civil liberties. So, two weeks into a new year "relaunch" seeking to revive his political fortunes, how does Gordon Brown want you to start out your Sunday morning? Naturally, by reading an op-ed in today’s Telegraph announcing a new government programme to take your heart after you die, without your consent. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld might say, "Who are the ad geniuses who came up with that one?""
1pm: Iain Dale’s take – Brown Wants to Nationalise Our Bodies