David Cameron has been warned by senior Liberal Democrats not to try to "water down" Britain's commitment to human rights in the wake of the riots.
The Prime Minister said he wanted a fightback against "the wrong-headed ideas, bureaucratic nonsense and destructive culture" which had led to the disturbances, including the "twisting and misrepresenting of human rights".
Writing in the Sunday Express, Mr Cameron said that he was prepared, if necessary, to take on "parts of the establishment" in order to get to grips with the issue.
However former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell made clear he faced a fight with his coalition partners if he tried to tamper with the principles of the Human Rights Act which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law.
"The European Convention on Human Rights was one of the most important contributions which Britain made to post-War Europe. It should lie right at the very heart of our constitutional circumstances," Sir Menzies told BBC News.
"My view is that the ECHR is a fundamental right and that is something we should not depart from.
"I do not want in any sense Britain's commitment to the whole notion of human rights to be watered down."
The spat once again highlighted the tensions within the coalition as the autumn party conference season approaches, with many Tories vehemently opposed to the Human Rights Act which they would like to see repealed.
In his article, Mr Cameron said: "There are deep problems in our society that have been growing for a long time: a decline in responsibility, a rise in selfishness, a growing sense that individual rights come before anything else.
"The British people have fought and died for people's rights to freedom and dignity but they did not fight so that people did not have to take full responsibility for their actions."