There have been 7 resignations over the EU Withdrawal Bill this week. Tory minister Phillip Lee resigned on Tuesday saying:
Yesterday Laura Smith (yes, that's right, who?) resigned from a junior shadow minister role in order to vote against the amendment to keep the UK in the EEA. This was a spectacularly attention seeking resignation given that Labour's position was to abstain. It would be understandable if Labour's position was the complete opposite to her's but to resign in order to not abstain is pretty diabolical. Almost as if it was contrived to take media attention back to Labour's right and away from the Tories' divisions. Five Labour parliamentary private secretaries also resigned but in order to vote for the amendment to stay in the EEA. There's no point in naming them because you won't have heard of them either. However, it allowed the media to go large on the headlines that Labour had SIX FRONT BENCH RESIGNATIONS. People with only half an eye on politics would then think that the Labour shadow cabinet had collapsed, which a cynic might say was the result they were after.
However, what was notable was the reaction of other MPs and the media, especially in relation to Phillip Lee. Words like brave, heroic and courageous were bandied around. Nearly every Remain MP who rose to speak on Tuesday congratulated him on his brave decision to stand down, for sticking by his principles and so on and so forth.
What complete and utter balderdash. None of these people have done anything remotely brave or heroic. They have resigned from ministerial / shadow ministerial posts but they haven't lost their jobs. They may have stood up for something they believed in by resigning but it has cost them nothing. They may have lost a little extra income but an MPs basic salary is more than the majority of us could ever dream to earn, with a guaranteed, comfortable pension. MPs will normally receive a pension of either 1/40th or 1/50th of their final pensionable salary for each year of pensionable service depending on the contribution rate they will have chosen. Not to mention their office expenses and allowances for second homes and travel. It's just grandstanding. Their lives haven't been irrevocably changed by their actions. They are still wrapped in more privilege than we shall ever know. That MPs and the media think it is brave or heroic is just another sign of how far removed they are from us in their Westminster and establishment bubble.