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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 12:45 GMT
Howard ends final Blair challenge
Michael Howard and Tony Blair
The two leaders have clashed numerous times
Conservative leader Michael Howard has used his last Commons clash with Tony Blair to demand to know when the prime minister will join him in retirement.

"Everyone knows I'm going next week, they want to know when he is going," said Mr Howard, asking if he still planned to serve a full third term.

The prime minister has said he will leave No 10 before the next election but refused to be more precise.

Mr Blair said their new leader would be unlikely to improve Tory fortunes.

Mandelson joke

Mr Howard is due to hand over to either David Cameron or David Davis once the results of their Tory leadership run-off are declared next Tuesday.

He said Mr Blair had left a legacy of higher taxes, higher borrowing, lower savings, lower crime clear up rates and blocked reform in public services.

And in his last prime minister's question, Mr Howard recalled Mr Blair famously saying: "My project will be complete when the Labour Party learns to love Peter Mandelson."

"Can he give us a progress report on that," he asked, to cheers and laughter from Tory MPs.

Mr Blair admitted: "Well, I may have to say on that one: a lot done, a lot left to do."

The biggest test for a political leader was putting its policies to the British public, he said.

Labour had won elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005, said Mr Blair, who added that with the current state of the Conservatives he had no doubt it would win the next poll too.

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