Former home secretary David Blunkett has described Labour as being at "rock bottom" in a radio interview.
Speaking about the government's plans for 42-day pre-charge detention for terrorist suspects, Mr Blunkett said even a Commons defeat on the issue would not overly affect Gordon Brown because he had already fallen as far as he could.
Talking on Radio 5 Live, he said: "We've hit a rock bottom in my view and we can only climb out of it, so I think that, whilst it would be yet another knock, it would not be a knockout blow."
Widely derided as a highly authoritarian home secretary by civil liberties campaigners during his stint in the cabinet, Mr Blunkett went to make a case for the extension in detention time.
"I really don't understand how anyone can believe that you can pat a terrorist on the head and say: 'Don't worry, we won't hold you while we investigate these multiple links across multiple boundaries across the world - we'll let you out, so we're being ultra-careful not to infringe your rights, even though you might well infringe our lives'," he said.