The Sketch: It's too late for Vince to be an 800lb gorilla

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Oh, the cruelty of politics. Silly Vince could have been hero Vince, noble Vince, he could have been 800lb-gorilla Vince with virgins strewing themselves in his path. If only he hadn't told the little cutie he was "declaring war on Rupert Murdoch". If only she hadn't been working for a national newspaper. If only he hadn't been in charge of a careful process, if only his bosses hadn't been up to the apricots in Rupert Murdoch.

Having been long ago stripped of his war-making powers, he was asked by Luciana Berger (Labour) whether they'd now be restored. He didn't know, "but I am delighted to discover the whole of Britain and the House of Commons now agrees with me."

Now? No, now everyone agrees with Ed Miliband, or David Cameron, or even with that raving maniac we saw in the House this week issuing his great "cry of pain" (George Young's description). Timing is everything, and for Vince it's gone a quarter past.

The morning rumour on the floor of Portcullis House was that the Serjeant at Arms had been ordered off to Wapping with an ancient warrant authorising her to summon the Murdochs.

James Murdoch was busy but offered to get his diary secretary to sort it out. It's what happens when your summoner isn't wearing a sword. Nonetheless, the committee seems to have won. Rebekah Brooks and Murdoch fils will appear. But how can it go well?

"Mrs Brooks. You will answer this as if you were on oath. Your hair. How do you get it to do those crazy things?"

"That is the subject of a police investigation. I can't answer that."

"But the way it coils like that in those tight little crimpy, curly coils. How do you comb it? Maybe you don't?"

"That is a purely commercial matter and is covered by a contract of confidentiality between the consenting parties."

"Have you got any animals in it? Any birds? Spare rats?"

"All these questions have been answered fully and are now confidential between News International and the investigating authorities."

The committee will need to think carefully about what questions they can ask that she can't avoid answering. And she, the little minx, will have to say something clever because they are itching to humiliate her publicly.