As a member of parliament, you need to vote... or get out.
First published in June 2018.
Next week, MPs from the main opposition party will again abstain from voting in one of the most important parliamentary decisions for decades.
On Tuesday, they will vote neither YES or NO to the Lords’ amendment to the Withdrawal Bill about staying in the EEA. This development is itself a scandal — that it exists at all, as a desperate ‘backstop’ to try to save us from falling out of the single market and customs union because of a lack of courage to fight Brexit all the way — and that it was left to the unelected Lords to try to be Her Majesty’s Opposition while the Labour party enabled Brexit.
But I feel very strongly that, for an MP, abstaining is an act of cowardice.
We didn’t elect you to have no opinion. We elected you to make decisions.
I can understand that citizens may wish to abstain from voting sometimes. I have done that, when I felt I was not well informed enough, or when I felt an unresolvable moral dilemma.
But that does not apply to MPs, the elected representatives.
You have to inform yourselves, and you have to arrive at a decision.
This is true even more in times of crisis.
Every vote on Brexit is a vote to either enable or prevent a national disaster.
If you abstain, member of parliament, you are a coward. You are there to debate and to vote.
If you abstain in a matter of national survival, you need to give your seat back to someone who will vote.🔷
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