Tom Watson on tabloid press: "They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality."
Black Country MP Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) has delivered a remarkable speech condemning parts of the media.
He was speaking in the House of Commons as MPs debate a motion - later passed without a vote - to refer the phone hacking affair to the House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges.
Here is a section of Mr Watson's speech:
"The truth is that we all of us in this House in our own way are scared of the Rebekah Brooks of this world.
"If you fear passing this resolution, think of this; it's almost laughable. Here we sit in parliament, the central institution of our sacred democracy, between us, some of the most powerful people in the land, and we are scared of the powers she wields without a jot of responsibility or accountability.
"They, the barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle.
"They have no predators. They are untouchable. They laugh at the law. They sneer at parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality.
"Prime Ministers quell* before them. And that is how they like it.
"That, indeed, has become how they insist upon it.
"And we are powerless in the face of them. And we are afraid. And if we oppose this resolution, it is our shame.
"That is the tawdry secret that dare not speak its name.
"The most powerful people in the land, Prime Ministers, Ministers and MPs of every party, are guilty in their own way of perpetuating a media culture that allows the characters of the decent to be traduced out of casual malice. For money, for sport, for any reason they like, and if we reject this resolution we will be guilty of letting it happen.
"We allow it because we allow narrow party advantage to dominate our thinking above the long term health of our democracy. And yet, Mr Deputy Speaker, I sense we are at the beginning of the endgame.
"Things will get better because in many senses they couldn't get worse.
"The little guys, the reporters on the ground who joined the newspapers to seek truth, have ended up working in a living hell.
"But if we want to, we have the power in this House to change that. We can make a start by getting to the bottom of the phone hacking scandal."
*(It sounded like he said "quell" or "quail". I suspect the word he meant to use was "cower". JW).