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Blair to roll out Labour manifesto
Updated: 2005-04-13 09:26

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was set Wednesday to roll out his Labour Party's manifesto, in which he acknowledges that this will be his last general election campaign as leader.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and other members of Blair's government were to join the prime minister in unveiling the manifesto just 22 days before the nation goes to the polls on May 5.

"I fight my last election as leader of my party and prime minister of our country," wrote Blair in the introduction, reaffirming his decision last year that, if re-elected, he would serve a full third term and then go.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair takes questions during a news conference at Labour election campaign headquarters in central London, April 12, 2005. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair takes questions during a news conference at Labour election campaign headquarters in central London, April 12, 2005.[Reuters]
"My call is a passionate one: let's together make irreversible the positive changes that are happening in our country," he said, according to excerpts carried by Britain's domestic Press Association news agency.

"Let's make the values of social justice and a fair deal for all the governing ideal of our country not just for some time but for all time."

Labour Party sources described the manifesto as "not a change of direction but an acceleration in the pace of change".

In contrast to the main opposition Conservatives' slim 28-page manifesto, published Monday, Labour's red-cover programme will run 110 pages in the format of a paperback book.

In policy terms, it was expected to hold few surprises. Most of its proposals were set out by Brown in his budget speech in March and in five-year plans issued by government departments over the past few months.

Labour is focusing its campaign on its strong economic record, while the Tories are promising tax cuts, less spending on public services, and tougher action on crime and immigration.

Opinion polls have consistently been pointing to an unprecedented third straight Labour mandate, albeit perhaps with a reduced parliamentary majority, after landslide wins in 1997 and 2001 with Blair as leader.

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