A MOTHER who helped her terminally ill son die says politicians are “finally listening” in the debate over giving people the right to end their own lives.

It comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to allow a vote on assisted dying laws if he wins the next general election.

On Wednesday, Sir Keir told broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen he was “committed” to making time for the debate if he becomes Prime Minister.

Dame Esther, who has stage four lung cancer, is lobbying for changes to assisted dying laws and has registered with the Dignitas assisted dying clinic in Switzerland.

Heather Pratten, from Rayleigh, helped her son Nigel commit suicide at home in 2000.

Nigel was suffering from Huntingdon’s Disease, an inherited brain disorder, and his mother helped him take a heroin overdose on his 42nd birthday.

As a patron of campaign group Dignity in Dying, Mrs Pratten, 86, has welcomed the recent commitment from Sir Keir.

She said: “I find it very encouraging. I’ve always believed people should have the choice.

Sometimes, life isn’t worth living if all you can do is stare at the ceiling. Politicians are finally beginning to listen to people.”

As Huntingdon’s took hold of her son in the late 1990s, Mrs Pratten recalls he “hated life” as he lost the ability to draw.

She said: “My son wanted to go. He’d seen his father and aunt suffer with Huntingdon’s.

“He loved to draw cartoons and comics for his friends. When he couldn’t anymore, he hated it.

He’d spent his whole life drawing and surrounded by friends, but that had gone. I told him I would not let him die alone, even though he was frightened I would be arrested.”

Nigel died from an overdose of heroin, after which his mother was arrested and charged with murder. Her sentence was then dropped to aiding and abetting suicide, and she was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Mrs Pratten disagrees with those who feel assisted dying “interferes with the sanctity of life”.

She said: “You interfere with life if you take medication when you’re ill.

“But I think people should get the choice to have a nice, peaceful death with your family around you.”

Mrs Pratten says the cost of dying at Dignitas “excludes” those who find it “too expensive”.

She said: “Why should you have to go all the way to Switzerland to die? If you want your family with you, it’s even more expensive.”