British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledges tensions in his ruling party after difficult week

British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged in an interview published Saturday that his governing Labour Party was facing tensions over some of his policies.

"This is a very tough and critical moment for the Labour party, I do not doubt that at all," Blair was quoted as telling The Guardian newspaper, a couple of days after the government narrowly avoided defeat in a vote on planned new terror laws.

The sizable revolt Thursday by Labour lawmakers over the Terrorism Bill nearly derailed the legislation and raised serious questions about Blair's authority. The resignation a day earlier of Cabinet minister David Blunkett, a key Blair ally, was another blow to the prime minister.

Some observers have suggested that Blair's stated intention not to fight the next election means he is more concerned about pushing through policies that are dear to him personally than helping Labour remain in power after his premiership ends.

Many lawmakers on the left wing of the Labour party oppose Blair's plans for public service reform, because they involve increasing the role of the private sector in areas like health and education. But in the Guardian interview, Blair denied he was only interested in his own legacy, AP reports.


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