Tony Blair last night defiantly insisted: "I have never told a lie" - as the Tories continued to target his character in an election campaign onslaught.

Mr Blair accused the Conservatives of shying away from the issues and preferring to attack him personally.

His comments came as Tory leader Michael Howard continued to insist the Prime Minister's integrity was a key issue in the fight for votes on May 5.

"The message I think people should send to Mr Blair is 'we have had enough of your broken promises, we have had enough of your talk, we have had enough of you'," said Mr Howard.

"Mr Blair doesn't like being held accountable, but I think it's very important he should be held accountable.

"I think that's what General Elections should be about."

Speaking in Edinburgh, he told the public: "May 5 is your chance to tell Mr Blair where to get off."

Asked whether he had ever lied to the public, Mr Howard replied: "I'm not aware of any occasion when I have deliberately or knowingly misled people and that's the charge I make against Mr Blair."

Mr Blair hit back saying: "I have never told a lie. No. I don't intend to go telling lies to people. I did not lie over Iraq."

And he added: "In the end you can play the ball or play the man and if they play the man that's probably because they don't dare play the ball."

In separate comments Mr Blair said voters would have a valid reason to reject him if they thought he had misled them over the Iraq war.

"You've got to make up your minds about this. If you believe that I stood up there and told a whole lot of lies then that is a reason for not voting for me," he said.

"But I actually took the decision on the evidence I had and I took it honestly believing it was the right thing for the country to do."