Tony Blair faced down a rebellion over new anti-terror laws today and said lives were more important than civil liberties.
The Prime Minister declared: "There is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack. It would be the gravest dereliction of duty to wait until we suffered a terrorist outrage here, and only then act."
His defiant stance came after 32 Labour MPs took part in a Commons revolt against the plans for new powers, including a form of house arrest without trial.
In a passionate Commons debate, one Labour backbencher said his party should be "damned forever" if it went ahead with a Bill that critics claim would undermine eight centuries of peacetime justice. MPs voted 309 to 233 for the laws, cutting the Government's majority in half.
Labour rebels included former Cabinet member Clare Short and exministers Frank Field, Kate Hoey, Glenda Jackson, Peter Kilfoyle and Mark Smith.
Mr Blair immediately hit back with an article denying the laws amounted to a "fundamental attack on longstanding-civil liberties". "As the Bill makes clear, no one will be deprived of their liberty without this being approved within days - at most seven days - by a senior judge in the High Court," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.