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The Sketch: MPs enjoyed an edifying apology – it even included the uncommon term 'sorry'

  • @SimonSketch

What with PMQs, a ministerial and a personal statement from the principal, we had triple Fox and a dash of tonic. PMQs. Labour want to create the impression of a large conspiracy of secret right-wing donors buying favours and selling backstage influence.

The PM's response is, as 10-year-olds used to say, "I know you do but what about me?" Ed Miliband has put away such childish taunts. He adopted a tone of sixth-form loftiness and said he had some advice for the Prime Minister. "Show a bit of humility." As in, "That's all, mate – humility. It's not difficult. Oh right, excuse me, yeah, I forgot. NOT!"

Cameron replied with a list of Labour malpractice in the field of secret influence, and having got his opponent down, kicked him. "These are the questions he should have asked last week!"

He barely bothered to respond to Ed's last attack on Fox observing that he was "too late" and that bandwagons need to be rolling when you board them.

How much do you have to like Ed to think he did well? It probably has to be love.

Next up, a statement on the Cabinet Secretary's report on Fox. Into the ring, Angela Eagle and George Young. What a mismatch. Weight, style, reach, delivery. The longer she spoke, the more we felt like Dustin Hoffman in the Marathon Man.

Here's the painless version: the report relies too much on he word of Werritty and Fox. A full list of Werritty's contacts must be published. And those who funded Werritty fund the Tory party. Tall Sir George carried off his part with grave courtesy. He will be missed.

Andrew Tyrie and Gisela Stuart both made similar points – if this irregular, "privately funded special adviser" had been known about for so long, why hadn't the civil service done anything about it? Sheer lack of guts, gumption and gravel, they implied. What "procedures" will help that?

And finally, Fox. He came in towards the end of the statement to a roll of supportive noise and went the way so many ministers have gone. His speech went very near the edge on occasions – dead children, persecuted elderly relations – but he enjoys risk, and this he survived. Also, he was "very sorry". You so rarely hear that in an apology these days.