David Cameron is a man in a hurry over Leveson

I was ambling into work when I bumped into a colleague.

She grabbed me and spun me round. "Quick!" she said. "We have to get to Downing Street! David Cameron has broken off talks!"

We ran to No 10. Moments later, there he was before us, the broken talks virtually in his hands, like the murder weapon in a detective story.

As it happens, the prime minister is brilliant at breaking off talks. It's his speciality. Later he was off to Europe for a summit – plenty of opportunity for breaking off talks there. He's got form.

When he gets back from Europe, David Cameron will have to hold top-level negotiations with his family about a new, workable structure for the weekend. "I'm sorry, but I am not going to cross the Rubicon of roast beef. Pork with crackling is a practical solution, a solution that should command universal support …"

We were discussing his decision to end the negotiations with the other parties over the Leveson inquiry. These have been going on privately. But they have ended now. He was in a tearing hurry. An air of desperation clung to him. I realised that he was slightly like a used car salesman who hasn't flogged anything for some months, and is beginning to wonder how he's going to find rent for the forecourt. His equivalent of the Valu-Deal is his royal charter. "Yes, under my royal charter, you are going to get up to £1m in fines, plus speedy and appropriate complaint handling, and, look. I'll throw in mag wheels and a satnav!"

We wanted him to tell us his thinking, but there was no time. He had made a decision. "'To govern is to choose!' as someone said!" (The Duc de Lévis, 1764-1830, apparently).

Hadn't he surrendered to the Murdochs, the Dacres, the Barclay brothers and all the other press barons? No! This was the fastest possible way to deliver! "The deal is there to be done! This is action, not inaction!"

The big vote will be on Monday. He might win. He might not. "Back me – but if the other parties have a different approach, the House of Commons will be sovereign!"

"I cannot stand by and say we will negotiate forever!"

The speed was bewildering. He wanted that royal charter deal signed, sealed and the log book handed over. Bankers draft and drive away? He would settle for cash topped up with discount pizza coupons. We couldn't miss this opportunity. "I have chosen workability over unworkability!"

Someone else pointed out gently that he might well lose Monday's vote. "Obviously I would rather win the vote. But you have to make a decision!"

"I am bringing forward a decision about this issue. I am being decisive!"

And with that he turned around and disappeared into the bowels of No 10. Slightly dazed, we made our way out, past a gaggle of schoolchildren waiting at the door, all in medium-vis (light blue) jackets. No doubt they were waiting for a trip around the building, and no doubt they were in for an equally rude shock.

"Sorry, kids, gotta run, going to break off walks …"

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Simon Hoggart, for The Guardian on Thursday 14th March 2013 17.12 Europe/London

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