Simon Carr: A week to decide the BSkyB deal and a lot depends on the Speaker

Sketch

Share
Related Topics

It may mean a proper, hot war between the Tories and the Speaker – but the opening battle is surely the Speaker's to win.

He allowed Chris Bryant to apply for an "SO24" – a three-minute pitch for an emergency three-hour debate on News of the World phone hacking.

Bryant went through the details of Milly Dowler's voicemail (murmurs of "Shame! Disgusting!" And some actual tch-ing.) He urged his colleagues not to be "spineless" and a well-whipped Labour presence showed their spinefulness by rising to support the application.

No Lib Dems did. Very few Tories did because very few Tories were there. Maybe they saw the massed ranks of Labour standing and thought they shouldn't do anything their opponents were doing.

"I am satisfied," the Speaker said with particular emphasis on himself, "it is proper to be debated". And he allowed three hours for it to happen forthwith (today, that is).

Having sat through a number of select committees listening to their editors and executives talking about hacking allegations I can say it's like swimming in the Sea of Unknowingness.

Rebekah Wade – now Brooks – had made the mistake of once saying something (that her paper routinely paid police officers for stories). Her senior colleagues never said anything again. She now says words to the effect of "I make me sick!"

If MPs want to have an effect on the BSkyB takeover they need to establish as a parliamentary fact that a "fit and proper person test" can be applied to the deal. At the moment, the minister is fortified behind his claim that he isn't allowed by law to apply such a test.

The Tory whips are cool enough in public, but they must be spitting cats. The Government's legislative programme looks like me in the shirts I was wearing last week (two collar sizes ago). They've had to cut out tomorrow's backbench debate to make room for a Bill they have to get through. So to lose three hours of time this close to the recess is both painful and humiliating.

The Speaker has urgency on his side. It's a political decision – dangerously political for a Speaker – but timely. Jeremy Hunt extended the consultation for his BSkyB decision for an extra week to this Friday.

Speaker Bercow may thus play an active part in a) halting the BSkyB deal and b) throwing a spanner into the government machinery. Imagine the Prime Minister's feelings. Imagine the Chief Whip's. You wouldn't want to listen to the voice messages they're leaving each other.





React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Special Needs Support Worker

£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Sewing Technician

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Lily-Rose Depp is not 'all grown up' - she is a 15 year old girl who should not be modelling for an adult fashion magazine

Harriet Williamson
 

If I were Prime Mininster: I would legislate for abortion on demand and abolish VAT on sanitary products

Caroline Criado-Perez
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence