David Cameron has conceded that his Government must "raise our game" as he sought to fight back after a "difficult" month of intense criticism of key policies and its handling of a series of controversial situations.

The Prime Minister insisted his "driving vision" remained intact and defended his own performance in Number 10, though he said ministers had to "learn lessons" about communicating with the public.

His administration has faced a sustained barrage of attacks over controversial tax measures in the Budget and handling of issues such as the planned strike by fuel tanker drivers and the attempt to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada.

The highly-trumpeted re-arrest of Qatada ended in farce amid a dispute between the Home Office and the European Court of Human Rights over exactly when a month-long window for an appeal had closed.

Mr Cameron defended under-fire Home Secretary Theresa May over the case, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the Home Office had "checked repeatedly" with the court during the process.

"It had checked repeatedly throughout that process, it was working on that basis and all the case law pointed in that direction so it was very clear and Theresa May has been very clear about this," he said. "The Home Office was working on the basis of the deadline being the Monday night and that is something that they had checked with the court."

He went on: "They were told throughout that the deadline expired on the Monday night. Was the Government right to try to move as rapidly as possible to remove this man from our country because he has no right to be here and is a threat to our country? I think they were."

Asked about the tough time faced by the Tory-led coalition with the Liberal Democrats, he said: "Everything we are doing is about helping people who work hard and do the right thing and making this country more pro-enterprise, more pro-get-up-and-go, more pro-work, more pro-effort.

"That is the driving vision. That is the mission. You have difficult weeks or difficult months. I want us to raise our game and do better. But the vision and the long-term are what matters."

He added: "In two years, to have a couple of bad months is not surprising."