TONY BLAIR finally launched the official election campaign today after weeks of speculation.

The general election will be held on May 5.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after returning from Buckingham Palace, Mr Blair said his ''mission for the third term'' was to entrench economic stability and boost public service investment, adding: ''It's a big choice and there's a lot at stake''.

Conservative leader Michael Howard launched the party's election campaign saying voters do not ''have to settle'' for five more years of Labour government.