Sketch: Prime Minister goes for Belgrano moment

MPs listened in shocked silence as a stern statement of condemnation was delivered in the strongest possible terms and yet another inquiry was announced into yet another unsavoury episode.

Before David Cameron had even taken to his feet, the Speaker John Bercow launched an investigation into the foam pie chucked at Rupert Murdoch when he was supposed to be tucking into humble pie.

Not to be outdone, the Prime Minister rose and described the baffling array of investigations that are now being carried out into the scandal that so rudely interrupted his trade mission to Africa.

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Referring to the public inquiry - as opposed to the police inquiry, the inquiry into the police inquiry or the pie inquiry - the Prime Minister said it would be extended and named a panel to oversee it.

However, his main form of defence to the accusation that he was too close to Andy Coulson and News International was to resort to familiar tactics - having a go at his opponents.

The Prime Minister asserted that Labour were just as bad - if not worse - when it came to wooing octogenarian press barons and their henchmen and women.

"Labour and the Conservatives have to make a fresh start," the Prime Minister said.

Neither party, he continued, should, descend to "petty, political points scoring" - a cry that brought great cheers from the government benches as they attempted to score some petty, political points.

Point-scoring of supreme pettiness ensued as Mr Cameron gleefully reminded the chamber that Rupert Murdoch had recently disclosed just how close he was to Gordon Brown during his chancellorship.

There was more glee as Mr Cameron pointed out that Mr Brown's adviser at the time was none other than Ed Miliband.

When it came to Mr Cameron's chumminess with Rebekah Brooks, the Prime Minister deflected awkward questions by referring to the "sleepover" that Sarah Brown had hosted for Brooks's 40th birthday party.

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"I have never held a slumber party or seen her (Brooks] in her pyjamas," Mr Cameron said.

Mercifully, mention of the "flame-haired temptress" dressed for bed was as about as risque as it got when Mr Cameron was grilled about his meetings with News International executives.

But that did not stop the Prime Minister having his own "Clinton" moment. In common with Bill Clinton's non-denial denial that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman", Cameron fudged his answer.The veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner was one of several Labour MPs to tackle Mr Cameron on his encounters with Mr Murdoch's executives when News Corp was attempting to take over BSkyB.

"Did he ever discuss the question of the BSkyB bid in all these meetings?" Mr Skinner asked the Prime Minister.

"I never had an inappropriate conversation," was Mr Cameron's less than forthright answer.

Nevertheless, it was a robust performance, in which he had the chutzpah to accuse Labour of using the debate for "narrow party advantage" and referred to the ghosts of Labour spin doctors past and present.

"Look, you hired Damian McBride, you had Alistair Campbell falsifying documents in your office and you've still got Tom Baldwin working in your office … gotcha!"

Mr Cameron said - borrowing his exclamation from an infamous News International headline of 1982 that gloated over the sinking of the Argentinian battleship, the General Belgrano, by a British submarine.