MSPs have rejected assisted suicide by voting against a Bill which would have made it legal for terminally ill people to request help to die.

The Assisted Suicide Bill was defeated by 82 votes to 36 in the Scottish Parliament.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, brought forward the Bill which was drafted and introduced by the late Margo MacDonald before she died last year.

Mr Harvie had said the bill could be improved and urged MSPs to allow it to continue to the next stage and for the details to be debated to make it better.

He said: "I think the case has been made very clear that a change in the law has been justified.

"Whatever view members take of the detailed operation of this legislation were we to pass it, I hope that all members who understand the basic principle, who accept the idea that human beings have the right to make a decision in circumstances such as a terminal or life-shortening illness, I hope that members will give this Bill the opportunity to come forward to the next stage, and then we can begin to debate the amendments that come forward."

Mr Harvie said he was not asking anyone to "approve of suicide" but to "widen the choices" of people.

The Scottish Parliament Health Committee however said it couldn't support the Bill and Health Secretary Shona Robsion, speaking in a personal capacity said she too was not able to vote for assisted suicide.

Speaking on behalf of the committee Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris said it had taken evidence from patients and doctors for and against allowing assisted suicide.

He said the committee was not persuaded.

Ms Robison said there was insufficient safeguards and insufficient provision for licensed facilitators and she was not able to support the bill.

Instead she called for greater emphasis to be placed on providing the best end of life care.

Ms Robison said: "Everyone should receive high quality palliative care. We must focus on that."

MSPs spoke for and against the Bill and then had a free vote based on their own conscience.

Many backed the Bill but others said they wanted improved palliative care.

From the Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw said it was intended for people not to suffer in the future, while Nanette Milne said she found it "deeply disturbing".

Labour's Mary Fee said it was about giving people control over their own destiny, while Michael McMahon said in the Netherlands assisted suicide had become the "default mode of death" for cancer patients and urged against voting for the bill.

SNP MSP Mike McKenzie was in favour stating "if we have the means to alleviate suffering we should do so."

John Mason, Shettleston MSP, said he was concerned about coercion. He said the BMA said there was no way to guard against it.

He said it opened up opportunities for older people to think they were a burden and said lives could be threatened by the legislation if passed.