Bryant calls for Murdoch arrest

By Alex Stevenson

The Murdochs could be arrested by the deputy serjeant-at-arms and brought to the bar of the House, Chris Bryant has proposed.

The shadow minister, one of the most prominent campaigning MPs on the phone-hacking scandal, was concerned by the fact that parliament rises for its lengthy summer recess after Tuesday's sitting.

News International chief executive Rebekak Brooks has agreed to be questioned by the Commons' culture, media and sport committee, but News Corp bosses Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch have declined.

"There is a degree of urgency about this," Mr Bryant told MPs.

"If the Murdochs still refuse to come and say they're not going to come next Tuesday an alternative route would be for him to table an emergency motion to require the serjeant-at-arms to bring the Murdochs to the bar of the House."

"I think I would like to take some advice," Sir George replied, to laughter from MPs, "before I go down that particular route.

"If a witness fails to attend when summoned, the [select] committee reports the matter to the House. It's then for the House to decide what further action to take."

It is far from clear whether MPs would be able to go through the full process for finding a person in contempt of parliament before parliament rises on Tuesday evening.

If Mr Whittingdale's committee feels a contempt of parliament has taken place it can submit a report to the House, Sir George said.

It is then submitted to parliament's standards and privileges committee, which has a wide range of penalties at its disposal – including fines – if its finding of contempt is approved by the broader Commons.