What happened?

"An Olympic gold-winning, FDA-approved prime fillet of cock-up!" was one Tory MP's verdict on last night's Commons meltdown over the non-vote on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The essence of what happened is simple; MPs thought they'd been promised a vote on the European Arrest Warrant, but the motion which was put before them was about transposing 11 shared EU powers on criminal justice issues into UK law.

So as the Speaker pointed out, it didn't even mention the EAW.

Now Commons motions can and often do take on significance above and beyond the words on the Order Paper - MPs can use almost any vote to signal discontent or disquiet (during World War 1, Asquith's government was rocked by a rebellion on an insignificant-looking motion about the treatment of enemy property seized in the Cameroon).

But the point here is that many MPs thought they were on a promise and didn't like the idea of their consent on one issue being assumed because of their vote on another.

So when the Speaker made clear that the vote was on the words of the motion and not on the EAW, a tsunami of recrimination broke over the Home Secretary, Theresa May.

The Speaker did his job. He told MPs what the motion meant.

Where he went further than many of his predecessors was in criticising the idea that the vote would somehow amount to a verdict by the Commons on the EAW. Some might see it as over-reach; others thought it was a strong chair defending the rights of the House.

I think the worst that can be said of his conduct was that he perhaps appeared to enjoy the uproar, and become more and more vehement as it continued. He warmed up with a blistering rebuke to the Conservative MP, Alec Shelbrooke, who was told to "sit quietly and listen, instead of pontificating from ignoranceā€¦"

And progressed, through a series of swipes at the government whips, to the claim that the government was "trying to slip things through by some sort of artifice" and that the public was "contemptuous" of such conduct.

This was savage stuff. But there were plenty of Tory backbenchers who didn't mind and some who cheered it on.

In fact, the most startling thing about the whole fandango was the gusto with which the backbench awkward squad piled in against Theresa May. This peaked during her speech in the debate on the business motion for the main debate. Normally these motions are pretty much a formality, but this time there was obvious fury against the way the debate had been structured - and Labour cannily stirred rebellion by making clear that they would vote against it.

Both Sir Edward Leigh and Jacob Rees-Mogg interrupted the home secretary in brutal style, and her Labour shadow Yvette Cooper gleefully joined in. Mrs May displayed steadiness under fire, but, her critics say, only after she had marched into an untenable position.

Faced with an open goal (to continue my grand tour of conflict metaphors) Yvette Cooper put the ball in the back of the net - something some of her colleagues have not managed - scoring points in her speech and playing some smart procedural cards as well.

It was a well-timed boost for party morale - and it also counted as a victory of parliamentary tactics. Perhaps those things don't matter much outside the Westminster village - but Labour MPs needed some kind of win on something and they got one.

On the other side of the battle-lines, the Conservative whips, having reduced what had at one time looked like being a major rebellion to another so-so show of defiance by the usual suspects, saw their good work squandered. The kind of epithets flying around in the debate: "legislative legerdemaine"- Jacob Rees Mogg, or "tainted by chicanery" - Bill Cash, suggest to me that the main long-term effect of these events is on trust within the Conservative Party.

MPs who thought their leadership tried to pull a fast one will remember these events in future votes on EU issues, budgets, referendums, whatever.