The voting system at Westminster is quite straight forward. MPs either vote yes, no or abstain. Whichever gets the most votes from either yes or no wins. Given that the odds are stacked against ever beating the government you may ask ‘what’s the point?’ To be honest, I sometimes ask myself the same thing regarding that part of the process. But that is the point, the vote is only part of the process. Democratically elected Members of Parliament have the right to express their views on behalf of their constituents and air their political views on a wide range of subjects, before they are voted on. The recording of the dissent is important. Otherwise the records would show that everyone agrees and apathy would prevail. And that is why the suppression of the voices of the SNP MPs in the House of Commons last night is a travesty. The Conservative Government used the process of the House to silence the dissenting voices. We were not allowed to voice our disapproval and that is a dangerous path to go down. And while we utilised every trick in the book to make our voices heard, the Scottish Conservatives mocked us and Scottish Labour sat in silence. When it came to a vote Scottish Labour abstained on matters that have been fundamental to the devolution settlement since 1999. And the Scottish Conservatives voted for the Westminster power grab. The great joy they took in doing so just had to be seen to be believed. Last night the Devolution settlement that specifies that certain specific powers are reserved with everything else devolved was ripped up by the Conservative Westminster Government. The powers being returned from the European Union which are not specifically reserved will now go to Westminster despite four of the five parties in Holyrood rejecting that proposal. Events such as last nights inevitably result in calls for the SNP to walk away from Westminster and I understand the frustration that produces that demand. Believe me we all feel the frustration and anger. But to walk away would mean that all the other work that is only possible at Westminster would not get done. The Select Committees, the All-party groups, the cross house groups, the access to lobby groups. As a constituent MP the access that I get to experts and organisations are too valuable an asset to my constituents for me to walk away from.
Last night, the U.K. Government and the Scottish Labour MPs were exposed and I and my colleagues shall continue to shine a light on the shortcomings, the self serving and the deceit that is at the heart of Westminster.