A leader in The Telegraph described Sir Menzies Campbell’s PMQs performance as "sorry". The Times called him "Ming the Massacred". The Guardian’s Simon Hoggart called it "bad and soggy, limp and ill-prepared". Ming "sat down looking a bit of an idiot," he concluded.
The acting LibDem leader had asked Tony Blair about the number of schools that did not have a permanent head teacher. It was a howler of a question given the lack of a LibDem ‘head’. MPs from other parties overlaughed and then Tony Blair stilletto-ed Mr Campbell:
"It can be difficult to find a permanent head of an organisation when the post is vacant, particularly if it is a failing organisation."
LibDem critics of would-be Emperor Ming are recalling David Davis’ lacklustre party conference speech and trying to suggest yesterday’s PMQs was their acting leader’s ‘David Davis moment‘. The media class (and this blog?) is certainly playing the same over-interpreting role; determined to cause trouble for the race’s frontrunner and excitement for itself.
The Times is one of a number of newspapers to say that Ming’s poor performance has encouraged Christopher Huhne MP to enter the race. Mr Huhne, it says, "would stand on a radical green platform married with a commitment to economic competence and devolving power to local communities".
There had been some doubt that Mark Oaten would be able to muster the names of seven MPs that are required to enter the LibDem leadership race. The leadership hopes of Messrs Oaten, Huhne and Hughes have been helped, however, by the revelation that MPs can nominate more than one candidate. This loophole in the rules has been described as "embarrassing, absurd and ludicrous by party insiders". Only in the LibDems..!