Conservative Diary

« Yes, there's a growing UKIP threat to the Conservatives. But it's got less to do with the EU than you may think | Main | Another reason to vote NO2AV: AV is part of the "Europeanisation" of British politics »

David Cameron tells Ed Miliband at PMQs that he won't take lectures from Labour about dealing with Libya

By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 25 Ed Miliband today used three questions on Libya and then three questions on police numbers but again failed to command the Commons.

He began by asking who authorised the mission in Benghazi, raising the role of Foreign Secretary William Hague, to which the Prime Minister said he took "full responsibility for everything my government does". Miliband then said that whilst he want to support the Government on Libya where he could, there was increasing incompetence and a problem with with Hague.

This prompted an angry response from Cameron, who said he was not going to take lectures from the opposition benches on dealing with Libya after the last Government's dealing with Gaddafi and said that in fact Labour should be apologising for the release of al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber. He said that over the last couple of weeks the UK has been leading the way in such matters as getting a tough UN resolution and preparing for a no-fly zone.

Miliband said there was a deafening silence from Cameron regarding the Foreign Secretary, to which Cameron retorted that we have "an excellent Foreign Secretary" and that the only one person he could remember knifing a Foreign Secretary was standing opposite him - ouch! Miliband's less convincing response was: "The more he brings my relatives into it, the more you know he's losing the argument. I've got a 2nd cousin in Belgium he'll be going after next."

Picture 23 The Labour leader then went onto police officer numbers, asking Cameron if he thought people would notice the loss of 12,000 front line police officers. Cameron said this Government was committed to police officers fighting crime, not being stuck behind desks, and pointed out that Labour had also been committed to reducing the police budget. He went on to cite several senior officers explaining that they are not cutting the number of police on patrol; indeed some are increasing them, keeping costs under control to keep police in the beat.

Miliband claimed that ACPO are saying that 12,000 front line officers will be lost because the Government is cutting, in his usual refrain, "too far and too fast". Cameron said that this was simply wrong as ACPO aren't talking about front line officers. He also reminded the Commons that former Home Secretary Alan Johnson for Labour at the election couldn't guarantee that police officer numbers wouldn't fall.

Miliband ended by claiming that the Government was incompetent on both Libya and police and that Cameron acts like he was born to rule but wasn't any good at it.

Cameron's final flourish saw him ask the Tory backbenchers whether Labour had a plan for NHS reform, police reform or cutting the deficit (chants of No!), before citing David Miliband's Times article today noting that the Left was losing elections across Europe and is bereft of ideas.

In other questions:

  • The Prime Minister welcomed No Smoking Day an said that "unlike in some previous years I hope to meet its requirements in full".
  • He said he would be campaigning hard for a No vote in the AV referendum (with Nick Clegg shaking his head vigorously beside him).
  • Tory MP Peter Bone asked for an in/out referendum on the EU - something, he said, that millions of British people wanted, including Mrs Bone. Cameron disappointed him, saying that Britain is "better off inside the EU" whilst making changes to it from within.
  • In answer to Tory backbencher Jake Berry, as to whether he agreed that the £50 fine issued this week for someone burning a poppy wreath was too lenient, Cameron said that Berry spoke for many people and that the country at large needed to make a stronger statement that such behaviour is not acceptable in a tolerant society.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.