Thursday, September 3, 1998 Published at 05:15 GMT 06:15 UK
Commons passes anti-terrorism bill
Tony Blair: Promised to carry Agreement forward "vigorously"
The House of Commons has passed proposals intended to catch the Omagh bombers after a 16-hour sitting.
The government wants the Bill to become law by Friday.
The House rose at 6.50am (5.50 GMT) after the Bill gained an unopposed third reading.
The Irish parliament, which was considering similar measures, also passed proposals before it without holding a vote.
Breakthrough on decommissioning
The peace process will be given an extra boost by the arrival of US President Bill Clinton in Northern Ireland on Thursday.
The sessions began on the day Sinn Fein made a breakthrough in the decommissioning process.
The move was welcomed as Sinn Fein's previous refusal to liase with the body had been seized upon by some unionists as lack of commitment to the peace process.
Omagh bombers 'failed' - Blair
In the Commons, Mr Blair had said the people behind the Omagh car bombing had "failed" and urged MPs to support the Bill before them.
The changes in the law will make it easier for courts in both countries to convict people described as active paramilitaries by a senior police officer.
The strongest opposition in the UK came from Labour MPs, some of whom said they were being asked to rush through legislation without proper scrutiny.
A bid to block its second reading, on the grounds that MPs had been given less than 24 hours to scrutinise its contents, was defeated by 374 majority.
Major warns of 'loopholes'
He said: "It would be a miracle if it did not have loopholes.
"This Bill has been brought forward in some haste for perfectly understandable reasons to respond to the public mood for action following the atrocity at Omagh."
"The objective is laudable and I thoroughly support the objective. But the definition of these groups is very tricky."
Law covers offences outside UK
The prime minister also announced his intention to implement "long-held plans to make it a criminal offence of conspiracy to commit offences outside the UK."
But Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who backed the key part of the proposals before parliament, attacked the decision to tack these measures on to the legislation.
"Not only have we lost 28 lives in the North of Ireland - and I don't make this any competition - but 10 times more lives were lost in outrages in Tanzania and Kenya.
"We would have been blind and deaf not to have recognised the need to act in respect of that as well as in respect of terrorism in the North of Ireland."