Jane Merrick

Jane Merrick is Political Editor of The Independent on Sunday.

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“If you count having a “small orchard in the garden”: the four apple trees, one quince and a mirabelle plum down my allotment”

My orchard, and other aspirations: I will only have 'made it' when I really do own one in my back garden

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 41st birthday. When I say "celebrated", I mean it happened but was slightly overshadowed by two household dramas: the first, my daughter was sick from 3am until 5pm; the second was that our fridge broke down. I felt sorry for my daughter, of course, but also for myself. As I was standing in our kitchen, water flooding from the defrosting freezer, and me wailing that I wasn't actually having a very good birthday, my Dad said to me: "Of course, in our house we didn't have a fridge until I was 12."

Forecasts threaten to undermine George Osborne’s ‘welfare cap’

Delays add £2bn to the cost of Chancellor's planned benefits bill

Labour claims the problems are another example of 'Tory welfare waste'
According to Francis Maude, tech start-ups in Silicon Valley thrive on a “fail fast” motto that helps them learn quickly from their mistakes and go on to achieve success

Failure – a target that Whitehall can actually hit

Embrace defeat and learn from past mistakes; it's the best way to boost innovation, says minister
Ed Miliband: ‘Tackling climate change is the most important thing I can do’

Ed Miliband lambasts PM for 'ignoring advice on climate change'

Exclusive: David Cameron accused of lack of principle and abandoning 'the most important issue' - because it is unfashionable
Signs of the times: home ownership is at its lowest level for 30 years

Coaliton's NewBuy housing scheme is a 95 per cent failure, official figures reveal

The plan aimed to rebalance the property market, by stimulating prices outside London and the South East, and contribute to economic growth
Labour’s Chuka Umunna has the backing of Tony Blair to be the next Labour leader

Tony Blair wants Chuka Umunna to be the next Labour leader

Former PM is backing shadow Business Secretary for top job if Ed Miliband fails to win general election
The health watchdog Nice has ruled that births at home, or at a midwife-led unit, are safer than at hospital

Despite the latest advice on where to give birth, the ordeal I went through shows why hospital is still the best option

I cannot imagine what would have happened if I had stayed at home

Sir Bill Cash says a formal deal between the Tories and Ukip is unlikely

Eurosceptic claims 200 Tory MPs now favour a British exit from EU

Sir Bill Cash calls for nation to take 'associate status' – and no longer wants pact with Ukip
Andrew Mitchell, one of the earliest Tory MPs to use a bike, inspires both loyalty and loathing

Andrew Mitchell had form: The pattern of abuse heard in the High Court was shocking

If Mitchell's outburst at PC Rowland had been a one-off, it might have been forgivable

French former First Lady Valerie Trierweiler is at a book signing of her book, 'Thank You For This Moment: A Story Of Love, Power And Betrayal'.

Thank You for this Moment by Valerie Trierweiler, book review: A long and painful break-up letter

It is impossible not to feel desperately sorry for France's former First Lady

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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea