The total number of confirmed dead following the London bombings has risen to 56, Scotland Yard said this evening.

Three bombs exploded on the London underground on the morning of 7 July, and one on a bus. The four bombers were among those killed.

Meanwhile, the three main British political parties say they have reached cross-party agreement in principle on new anti-terror legislation.

The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said there were no main outstanding issues of difference on the legislation, due to be introduced to Parliament in October.

The measures include a new offence of indirect incitement to terrorism. This would outlaw preachers who, for example, glorify suicide bombers.

The measures also include a new offence of acts preparatory to terrorism. This would outlaw activities such as accessing terrorist websites and acquiring bomb-making instructions.

Earlier, the UK government rejected a report warning that Britain has left itself open as a terrorist target by acting as pillion passenger to US foreign policy.

The former Royal Institute for International Affairs, now known as Chatham House, says British troops working in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased the chances of a terrorist attack and have boosted al-Qaeda's propaganda, recruitment and fundraising.

Downing Street, Defence Secretary John Reid and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw all criticised the report.

Mr Reid said bombings in Turkey and Iraq since 7 July showed that terrorism is an international problem.

The analysis of the state of security and terrorism in Britain, done by Chatham House in association with the Economic and Social Research Council, warns of gaps in emergency resources in dealing with terrorist threats outside of London.

It also notes that until this month's suicide blasts in London, the only significant terrorist attack on home ground was the PanAm bombing over Lockerbie in 1988.