Prime Minister John Major ended months of speculation yesterday by announcing that the British general election will take place on May 1, Labour Day. The campaign, at six weeks, will be the longest since World War II. Despite being consistently more than 25 points behind in the polls, Mr Major said in his announcement: 'I think we will win this election. I expect to be here after this election.' Parliament will close for the Easter recess on Friday but will be dissolved from April 8. The Prime Minister made his announcement after holding an emergency Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street and going to Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen of his decision. Mr Major said 18 years of Conservative government had seen a 'dramatic change' in the lifestyle of British people. 'There has been a revolution in choice, in opportunity, in living standards,' he said. The election would mean a choice between the party that had brought that revolution about and the two parties which had opposed almost every aspect of those changes, he claimed. Labour leader Tony Blair welcomed news of the election date. 'We are delighted the campaign is under way. I think the choice will be between a Conservative Party most people feel has run out of ideas and a revitalised Labour Party,' he said. The campaign is expected to be more 'presidential' in style than previous British elections with Mr Major and Mr Blair facing each other in a series of television debates. The Conservatives hope a long campaign will provoke serious doubts over Mr Blair. With such a huge opinion polls lead, Labour's biggest danger is seen as a complacent electorate which might fail to turn out to vote for them. Bookmakers William Hill quoted Labour as 1-7 favourites to win election, with the Conservatives on 4-1 and the Liberal Democrats at 500-1. They offered 10-3 for a hung Parliament.