Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has described the Conservative party as being "panicked by the UKIP phenomenon" following an MP vote on immigration.
Cable described the Tories as being "horribly divided" following the vote to curb the ability of foreign criminals to resist deportation on the grounds of their right to a family life.
The amendment tabled by the rebel Tory backbencher Dominc Raab was defeated 241 to 97 votes after Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted against the measure.
"It is not good. We need to have a common approach to immigration to reassure the public," said Cable.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has slammed the Government's immigration bill as a "car crash", accusing David Cameron and Theresa May of being scared of their own backbenchers.
Ms Cooper, who said she sympathised with the amendment, said ministers "sat on their hands" instead of voting against Mr Raab's amendment because they were worried about their backbenchers.
The Labour MP accused the Home Secretary of acting in the interests of the Conservative Party rather than in the interests of the country and suggested she had lost control of her own policy.
"I have to say the Immigration Bill has been a complete car crash for the Home Secretary. She and the Prime Minister launched this as their flagship Bill," Ms Cooper said.
"This was the pride and joy of their legislation and yet they have been hiding it away for months. We have had months when the Immigration Bill was nowhere to be seen, when they wouldn't bring it back because they were so scared of their own backbenchers."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has accused the Conservatives of being "horribly divided" during an interview with ITV News, after over half of all backbenchers rebelled against David Cameron.
Vince Cable to @itvnews: The Tories were "horribly divided" today and wrong. Says figures show 90% of jobs going Brits not immigrants.
Over half of all Conservative backbenchers rebelled against David Cameron on the vote to ban foreign criminals claiming their right to a family life to avoid deportation, Labour said.
Anticipating a rebellion, Downing Street ordered Conservative ministers to abstain.
The Labour Whips' Office tweeted:
Initial count is that around 85 Tory MPs, over half of all tory backbenchers, rebelled against @david_cameron on Raab's Amdt.
Hearing that Tory whips were preventing Tory MPs voting against Raab Amdt even though Gov said it was illegal - shambles
97 MPs supported Dominc Raab's amendment
Amendment defeated. But that is a big rebellion. #immigrationbill
After his own government caved in &abstained - Cameron only defeats Raab amendment because Labour and LibDems opposed it
MPs have voted in favour of plans to strip terror suspects of their British citizenship by 297 to 34 votes.
Home Secretary Theresa May unveiled the proposal as a last-minute change to the Government's Immigration bill.
There was a small rebellion from Liberal Democrat MPs.
MPs have rejected proposals to ban foreign criminals claiming their right to a family life to avoid deportation by 241 to 97 votes.
Nearly 100 MPs, many of them thought to be Tory backbenchers, voted in favour of giving ministers rather than judges the final say over whether deportation would breach the human rights of foreign criminals.
Labour denounce govt plans to abstain on Raab amendment to Immig Bill. LibDems to oppose, Labour to oppose, Tory rebels support. What a mess
The Bulgarian ambassador to the UK called the tone of the immigration debate "very unpleasant".
Konstantin Dimitrov told ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen, "It is defamatory, definitely there are elements of discrimination."
"This propaganda hurts the pride of many Bulgarians ... the humiliation that such a rhetoric contains is something that may leave a trace here or there in the soul of my compatriots," he added.
David Cameron looks set to avoid a confrontation with his own backbenchers by ordering Conservative ministers to abstain in a key vote over deporting foreign criminals.
An amendment to the Immigration Bill tabled by Tory backbencher Dominic Raab would prevent foreign nationals dodging deportation after serving a jail sentence by claiming that it would breach their right to a family life
Mr Cameron's decision to abstain will split the coalition Government, as Liberal Democrat ministers have been told to oppose the amendment in the House of Commons this afternoon.