The Sketch: MPs roared and reined in the foul media beast

  • @SimonSketch

"It is a foul deed," Baroness Rawlings told the Lords during their Urgent Question on phone hacking. It was a nice echo from an age when foul deeds were committed and their authors didn't end up on a celebrity catwalk.

No, this has resulted in the sensational destruction of an old institution of the press, the execution of its inhabitants, the dismantling of its walls, the ploughing of the land with salt.

The foul deeds may or may not be enough to influence the more important end: the BSkyB deal. But for the time being Parliament has pulled it off. You might like to think it was the barrage from radio and television, but I like to think it was Parliament wot won it.

There is something uniquely painful about presenting an indefensible case to a collegiate mob. Something crushing and brutal. But you'll think me a hopeless romantic. The deal is delayed – and looking back, it was indicated in those affirmative nods when Jeremy Hunt on the front bench agreed with Nicholas Soames asking for "a pause".

Parliament isn't always the best place to get urgent action. But in allowing the SO24 procedure, under which Labour called for an emergency debate, the Speaker collected the voice of the House. It emerged as one roar, and was applied directly to the ear of the man making the decision.

It should be mentioned in dispatches that John Bercow is a particular winner. He is demonstrably on the side of the back benches – who happen to be his electorate. He will emerge from this incident as the Speaker who helped rein in the biggest media beast in the world.

Will the fact these people are manifestly unfit and improper be held against them by Ed Richards, the boss at Ofcom? "It's a big test," a source says. "Ofcom has privately indicated the fit-and-proper person test is a non-runner unless collars get felt by the police."

But that must surely happen. As Tom Watson said, the chairman of the board, James Murdoch, personally authorised payments to cover up criminal behaviour – possibly committed by the police. So the police kick down his door and try to arrest Murdoch – but he resists and tries a citizen's arrest on the police, for the same thing they were arresting him for. They careen down the road to the Old Bailey, and all end up in the same cells. Hopelessly romantic, I agree.