TONY Blair was today lining up with Chancellor Gordon Brown and the rest of his Cabinet to launch Labour's manifesto for what he confirmed will be "my last election as leader of my party and Prime Minister of our country".
Labour was also due to announce its keenly-awaited General Election pledge on tax.
The party last night refused to confirm what the tax promise would be, amid widespread media speculation that it would repeat the 1997 and 2001 commitment not to raise the basic or higher rates of income tax.
Meanwhile, Conservative leader Michael Howard was turning his fire on Mr Blair personally, with a cinema advert promising to "wipe the smirk off his face".
The ad builds on internal polling understood to have found that many voters are particularly turned off the Prime Minister by his smile.
Labour's manifesto - entitled Britain Forward Not Back - will be pored over by commentators for signs of the relative influence of Mr Blair and Mr Brown. There is no picture of the PM on its cover, which will be picked on by opposition parties as a sign that Labour fears he has become an electoral liability as an asset.
But his promise that the document would be "unremittingly New Labour" is reflected in a section entitled "the New Labour case" at the head of each of its 10 chapters, setting out the argument for continuing reform.
Little in the way of new policy is expected in the manifesto, which is largely drawn from programmes already set out in the Budget and departmental five-year plans.
Today's Conservative film - believed to be the first cinema advert screened by a British party during an election - aims to blunt the impact of the manifesto launch by reminding viewers of what the Tories say are Mr Blair's failures as PM.
To the tune of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Take That Look Off Your Face, the film shows images of a smiling Mr Blair along with famous soundbites, contrasted with Conservative criticisms of his record in office.
Mr Howard will have his own chance to lay into Labour's manifesto during a visit to Nottingham.