Tony Blair has suffered two huge blows to his authority with the resignation of David Blunkett and a major backbench rebellion over new anti-terror legislation.
Mr Blunkett, who left the Cabinet following damaging revelations about his business interests, was the Prime Minister's closest Cabinet ally.
Mr Blair had fought to keep him and defended his integrity in the Commons yesterday.
Then, Ministers were forced into a dramatic climbdown over a crucial part of the Government's controversial Terrorism Bill.
They abandoned plans to let police hold suspects without charge for 90 days, after rebel Labour MPs threatened to vote them down.
Black Country MP David Winnick (Lab Walsall North) led the charge, proposing an amendment which reduced the time period allowed to 28 days.
And the Government barely won a separate vote on laws outlawing the "glorification" of terrorism - with its majority slashed to just one.
Earlier in the day, Conservative leader Michael Howard told Mr Blair he faced "the beginning of the final chapter of your administration". It followed weeks of Cabinet disunity, including a row over banning smoking in pubs and restaurants.