On what I suppose is a related point to the previous post, I got an email from someone on Friday which could be crudely summarised as saying 'As a Labour supporter, I'm upset that you don't have a track record of voting against the Government'. As I explained in my reply, that might well be because it's a Labour government, and I'm a Labour MP... She didn't seem to have any particular issue in mind, she just thought that it was something I should do on an occasional basis to prove my 'independence'.
Most of what the Government does accords with my political instincts, my principles, my evaluation of priorities, of what matters and what doesn't. Since I was elected in 2005 there have probably been half a dozen times I've been unhappy with legislation to the extent of seeking out Ministers to talk to them about it. In one case I was reassured by what the Minister told me, in the others I think the Government amended the legislation before it went through. In another case - the vote on super-casinos - I was very much against the proposals in principle, was won over by pleas from colleagues from Blackpool and Manchester, regretted it afterwards and was then very pleased when Gordon announced a U-turn.
There have been other issues which have involved me making representations behind the scenes, most notably on the 10p tax issue (not, admittedly, when it was first introduced, but when we became aware of the impact on a sizeable minority), and on Lebanon, when I told Number 10 that I wouldn't be able to support the Government stance if it came to a vote - it didn't, because Parliament wasn't recalled. And there have been numerous occasions when I've written to Ministers about the detailed stuff, i.e. not the stuff of rebellions, but the things that need tweaking, or improving. Plus Select Committee and Bill Committee work.
As for the commonly cited vote on theyworkforyou - voting against an inquiry into the Iraq war - that was just another Opposition day motion, and I don't think an inquiry at that stage would have achieved anything. That's not to rule out a future inquiry, but I think we've got enough on our plate at the moment. And why does theyworkforyou say 'voted strongly' when there was one vote, either for or against? (And for the record, I wasn't in Parliament when the Iraq vote was taken. I wasn't happy with the decision to go to war without a second UN resolution, but I didn't get to vote one way or another).