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Published on March 9th, 2011 | by Katie Langton
Image © The crisis in Libya, and the government’s failure to handle it with any competence, dominated Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons this lunchtime. The government has been responsible for a string of blunders since the uprising began: first there were the mistaken reports that Colonel Gaddafi was heading to Venezuela, then the delays affecting the evacuation of British nationals, this was followed by confusion over the possibility of a no-fly zone or military intervention, and finally last week’s botched SAS mission which left Britain humiliated when an eight-strong team was detained by local rebels. Predictably, Ed Miliband harnessed this embarrassing list to lock horns with the prime minister. The result was a heated exchange in which both sides levelled personal attacks. While Cameron snidely remarked that he would not "take a lecture from Labour about dealing with Gaddafi", the Labour leader responded with a rather good line of his own, stating that Cameron thought he was “born to rule but not very good at it“. However the prize ultimately went to the prime minister for the lowest put-down of the day when, on the issue of William Hague’s performance, Cameron referred to Ed Miliband's defeat of his brother David for the leadership: “There's only one person I can remember around here knifing a foreign secretary and I think I'm looking at him.” Ouch. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="William Hague by John Puddephatt on Flickr"]William Hague[/caption] The performance of ‘Hague the Vague’ - who, true to recent form, was not present in the chamber because of a briefing with the Queen - was a recurring theme in today’s prime minister’s questions. The foreign secretary’s position has been severely undermined by his response to the Libyan crisis. As BBC political editor Nick Robinson remarked, Hague has looked “like the weight of the world is on his shoulders” in recent days, provoking questions about his commitment to the job. While Miliband stated that there was a “deafening silence” from the government about Hague’s competency, Cameron today gave him a full endorsement, telling MPs, to cheers from the Tory benches: “Let me tell you I think we have an excellent foreign secretary”. If Hague’s lacklustre performance over recent weeks is what David Cameron deems as ‘excellent’, the problem is far bigger than who leads the foreign office. I think I am with Mr Miliband on this one: “There is an issue of competence at the heart of this government”.

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Prime Minister’s Questions: Cameron backs Hague’s ‘excellent’ performance

The crisis in Libya, and the government’s failure to handle it with any competence, dominated Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons this lunchtime. The government has been responsible for a string of blunders since the uprising began: first there were the mistaken reports that Colonel Gaddafi was heading to Venezuela, then the delays affecting the evacuation of British nationals, this was followed by confusion over the possibility of a no-fly zone or military intervention, and finally last week’s botched SAS mission which left Britain humiliated when an eight-strong team was detained by local rebels.

Predictably, Ed Miliband harnessed this embarrassing list to lock horns with the prime minister. The result was a heated exchange in which both sides levelled personal attacks. While Cameron snidely remarked that he would not “take a lecture from Labour about dealing with Gaddafi”, the Labour leader responded with a rather good line of his own, stating that Cameron thought he was “born to rule but not very good at it“. However the prize ultimately went to the prime minister for the lowest put-down of the day when, on the issue of William Hague’s performance, Cameron referred to Ed Miliband’s defeat of his brother David for the leadership: “There’s only one person I can remember around here knifing a foreign secretary and I think I’m looking at him.” Ouch.

William Hague

William Hague by John Puddephatt on Flickr

The performance of ‘Hague the Vague’ – who, true to recent form, was not present in the chamber because of a briefing with the Queen – was a recurring theme in today’s prime minister’s questions. The foreign secretary’s position has been severely undermined by his response to the Libyan crisis. As BBC political editor Nick Robinson remarked, Hague has looked “like the weight of the world is on his shoulders” in recent days, provoking questions about his commitment to the job. While Miliband stated that there was a “deafening silence” from the government about Hague’s competency, Cameron today gave him a full endorsement, telling MPs, to cheers from the Tory benches: “Let me tell you I think we have an excellent foreign secretary”.

If Hague’s lacklustre performance over recent weeks is what David Cameron deems as ‘excellent’, the problem is far bigger than who leads the foreign office. I think I am with Mr Miliband on this one: “There is an issue of competence at the heart of this government”.

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