By politics.co.uk staff
Tony Blair will campaign for a fourth Labour term at the general election, Peter Mandelson confirmed yesterday.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the business secretary said: "We want all the party's leadership - past and present - to be contributing to our electoral success.
"They know what is at stake for the country.
"Everyone will get stuck in. Everyone will campaign: Tony Blair, John Prescott, David Blunkett. We need the support of these well-known faces."
The comments will cause surprise and, in some cases, consternation on Labour benches.
Mr Blair has been outside of the political spotlight since leaving Downing Street, concentrating instead on his work as special envoy to the Middle East and his various lucrative private deals, predominantly for speaking arrangements.
Many Labour backbenchers will be irritated by Mr Blair's reappearance, but some Labour strategists believe he can help the party secure middle England voters who are turned off by Gordon Brown.
But Mr Blair has dominated the headlines this week, firstly through his appearance this Friday at the Iraq inquiry and then through his deal with hedge fund Lansdowne Partners.