John Reid has called for the Home Office to be given stronger powers to detain or deport terror suspects, amid the row over two suspects who absconded while being monitored under anti-terrorism laws.
The Home Secretary fuelled speculation that a fresh anti-terrorism Bill will be announced in the Queen's Speech next month as he tried to turn the fire on the Tories and Liberal Democrats for opposing controversial measures designed to crack down on extremists. He told MPs: "I want stronger powers to detain and control; I want stronger powers to deport."
Sources said it was too early to speculate about the nature of possible measures but Tony Blair is known to want to put security and crime at the heart of his last Queen's Speech in an attempt to portray the Opposition as soft on crime.
Opposition MPs accused Mr Reid of blaming everyone but himself as he tried to deflect criticism over the absconders, one of whom, it is claimed, was questioned about alleged links with the London suicide bombers.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "There is absolutely no evidence to suggest these suspects escaped because their control orders were too weak."
David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, added: "The Home Secretary... has blamed everyone else but himself for this fiasco."