British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has won a Commons vote on his controversial reform of university financing.

MPs supported his government's bill by a majority of just five votes.

The result was 316 in favour of his plan for university fees, with 311 MPs voting against it.

A U-turn earlier today by a leading opponent of the plans for university top-up fees was thought to have helped Mr Blair avoid defeat.

A fresh concession to review the impact of fees on middle income homes is said to have persuaded former minister Nick Brown to switch sides and back the government in tonight's vote.

Hutton report out tomorrow

The victory comes as Mr Blair faces what has been described as the toughest test of his authority since taking office in 1997.

Tomorrow, Lord Justice Hutton is due to deliver his report into the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide of weapons expert, Dr David Kelly.