Revolt against 42 days crumbles

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The Labour revolt against the detention of terrorist suspects for 42 days without charge appeared to be crumbling last night after Jacqui Smith announced a series of concessions.

The Home Secretary said she had moved "a million miles" in a presentation to Labour MPs that left even her strongest critics predicting a government victory in next week's key vote.

Speaking just hours after Gordon Brown insisted he would not be forced out of office by Labour rebels, Ms Smith announced three major compromises to the Counter-terrorism Bill.

She said: "It's important we do what people expect us to do as a government. It's not about the sort of government we want. It's about what it means to govern."

The Home Secretary told a packed meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that the emergency circumstances under which the 42-day power would be activated would be spelt out on the face of the Counter-terrorism Bill.

Government amendments to the Counter-terrorism Bill to be tabled today will borrow the language of the existing Civil Contingencies Act to define the emergency.

Parliamentary approval will have to be gained within seven days of the power being invoked, rather than the 30 that was first suggested by the Home Office.

And police will only be given the right to apply for emergency detention powers for a 30-day, rather than a 60-day, period.

Both Labour chiefs and dissident backbenchers said that many critics were falling back in line.