Cabinet gears up for election

The Cabinet are meeting for what is expected to be the last time before the general election is called.

Ministers will be told that Labour will put its economic record at the centre of the election campaign.

Cabinet members are also expected to discuss the contents of Labour’s manifesto, which will be finalised over the next week.

Tony Blair is expected to visit the Queen next week to ask her to dissolve Parliament ahead of a May 5 poll.

Following a meeting on Wednesday, Mr Blair along with John Prescott and Gordon Brown agreed that “an opportunity economy” would form the slogan for the economy part of the campaign.

And writing in The Times newspaper on Thursday, Mr Blair said: “It is a measure of the confidence of today’s Labour Party that the Political Cabinet will be told that our economic record will be at the centre of election campaign.”

The Prime Minister today also attacked the Conservatives over their spending plans, claiming the “central difference” between the parties was that the Conservatives would “cut off the investment just when it is producing results”.

Mr Blair expressed incredulity at the dismissal of Howard Flight for saying the Conservatives were hiding the true scale of their planned spending cuts.

He wrote: “Quite the most bizarre aspect of the Flight episode is the dismissal of a deputy chairman and MP for saying what most of the party believes.”

The commitment to public spending cuts was “the truth that dare not speak its name in the modern Conservative Party,” he added.

Conservative Party leader Michael Howard sacked Mr Flight and denied his comments. Mr Howard said: “We [the party] don’t say one thing in public and another in private.”