I’ve never liked abstention.
It seems timely to raise the subject, but I’ve never been keen. My general thinking has been if you’re elected to a decision making position then it falls to you to…make a decision.
It’s not always easy, but if you can’t take the tough calls then you have to ask whether you should be in the position of taking them.
Which is a tough thing for me to say, given how Labour voted on the Welfare Bill on Monday night. Before I go on, I should probably point out that it’s not quite as black and white as the Greens, the SNP, and the Corbynites have been painting it, and that in fact Labour did vote against the bill — Andrew Gwyne MP has blogged an explanation which is, embarrassingly, better than anything the Labour press office or frontbench has come out with.
Nonetheless, we did not acquit ourselves particularly well on Monday night, in my opinion.