Abstaining from a vote in Politics is usually a wasted vote and something I do not usually support as you should vote one way or the other on issues or you might as well have not shown up.
The only time it is acceptable is when it is a matter of conscience.
However I do support the Libdem abstention today on the issue of Jeremy Hunt, although it took a quiet afternoon and the distraction of playing with my daughter in the park to allow me to come to terms with the issue.
Originally I couldn't believe it, after all there are serious questions to be asked about the conduct of Jeremy Hunt before and during the BSkyB bid and the vested interests of the Murdoch Empire and their infiltration into politics was something that I and the rest of the party feel very strongly about. The Murdoch Empire is a tumour on British parliamentarian procedure and it needs to be lanced and removed. Letting Jeremy Hunt pass without a proper investigation into what had happened by our abstention was tantamount to letting it go on. How could we be so bloody useless and pull our punches now?
There has been much fury (according to the Guardian reports) between Nick and Dave since Jeremy Hunt's appearance at the Leveson inquiry. Although it was clear that Leveson found that there was no wrong doing during the take over Nick felt that Dave was too quick to clear him of any breach of the ministerial code or by misrepresenting the truth before Parliament - the whole case should be referred to Sir Alex Allan the adviser on the Ministerial code.
As the Labour party pushed a motion to force the Prime Minister's hand a large question mark fell over the party. Would we break ranks with our Coalition partners and agree with the opposition and stand up for our beliefs or would we silently just nod again dumbly.
I was mortified to see we would abstain.
We were seemingly sacrificing our beliefs for Coalition harmony - but on reflection we're doing more than that, we're being grown up.
Despite many in the Labour party saying they are doing the right thing including the odious Harriet Harman who stated:
This is an important opportunity for the House of Commons to make clear the importance it places on secretaries of state being transparent and truthful to parliament.
I think members from all sides of the house will want to be sure that this issue is not simply swept under the carpet. Misleading parliament is not just some outdated constitutional issue – it matters
There is also the fact that they are simply trying to score party political points.
After all the Murdoch Empire was also exceptionally cosy with the last Government and there are accusations as to the Pyjama parties, Christenings, social occasions and law changes that show that the tumorous relationship between Government and Murdoch Media runs deep. Their move, though seemingly righteous does also reek of people in glass houses manning trebuchets!
There is also the question of Labour's Special advisers from the last Government, such as Damian McBride, and their advice all of which was never dealt with. More fittingly is the fact that Prime Minister Tony Blair allegedly misled the entire House over WMDs in Iraq taking the nation to war.
The point is, though their motion is valid, they are as guilty of collusion with the Murdoch's as the Culture Secretary and are now out of the firing line. We as a party would be damned for voting with the Government and voting with Labour - We're the only party to be clean of this taint and abstention is the only way to keep that clean record.
On top of that is the letter from Sir Allan that David Cameron read out in Parliament today at PMQs:
I note your decision in relation to Jeremy Hunt's adherence to the ministerial code which is of course a matter for you. The fact that there is an ongoing judicial inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could usefully add to the facts in this case, though I remain available should circumstances change or new evidence emerge.
Basically the Leveson inquiry has laid all of the facts bear and the Prime Minister, as the leader of the Government and the Party has enough evidence before him to make the decision on whether or not to Jeremy Hunt has done wrong. The ball is in the Prime Minister's court.
Politics shouldn't be about one Party's superiority over another and we, as a party are refusing to get involved in the "point scoring" exercise. Abstaining was the hard path but in this occasion
Nick has made our position clear over what we think but ultimately it is up to David Cameron to make the right decision.