Tony Blair: admits he faces "rough ride" after parliamentary defeat on terror law

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged his legislative agenda faces a "rough ride" after a parliamentary defeat over anti-terror legislation.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons this week rejected a plan to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge, a humiliating blow for Blair and the first time he had lost a Commons vote during eight years in power.

Forty-nine legislators from the governing Labour Party voted against the government, and many observers say Blair will now struggle to retain party discipline in votes on his controversial public-sector reforms.

In an article published Sunday in the News of the World newspaper, Blair said he and his government were determined to do "what is right, not what is easy."

"All of this will require more difficult decisions and strong leadership," Blair wrote. "Sometimes, as with this week, I'll be given a very rough ride."

According to a poll by ICM released Friday, two-thirds of Britons believe Blair's authority had been damaged by the defeat.

Blair has said he will not seek a fourth term in office, and although he could serve until 2010, some members of his governing Labour Party are impatient for him to step down sooner. Left wing Labour lawmakers are unhappy with his centrist, free market agenda of encouraging greater private sector investment in state run public services such as health care and education, AP reports.

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