The government is set to lose its controversial flagship bills on ID cards and the reform of Britain's gambling laws unless it can cut deals with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats before a widely expected May general election closes off all room for manoeuvre.

Though ministers seem resigned to losing former home secretary David Blunkett's pet project - a British ID card to counter fraud and terrorism - they will fight to save Tessa Jowell's gambling bill, if necessary by warning Liberal Democrats it is "all or nothing".

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