Mark Leftly

Mark Leftly is Associate business editor for The Independent

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The MoD is under fire over its high consultancy bills

MoD is accused of a 'lack of cost control' after revelation Deloitte was paid £14.8m to advise on reforms

Accountancy firm was hired to help preparations for an overhaul of the military's vast property and land estates

Mark Leftly: Suspend all your disbelief and the drug chiefs' claims are compelling

Westminster Outlook Wow, this must be some sort of personal record for Vince Cable: one of the Business Secretary's many curiously emphatic opinions proved wrong within 48 hours.

Mark Leftly: The reactors are coming but the nuclear inspectors are going

Westminster Outlook We are at the start of the most ambitious civil nuclear programme in this country's history. A generation of state-of-the-art reactors worth at least £60bn will be built across the country, from Hinkley Point in the South-west to Hartlepool in the North-east. Tens of billions more are being spent clearing up radioactive waste at historic, highly hazardous nuclear sites, including Sellafield in Cumbria and Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands. A shame, then, that we're struggling to find enough nuclear inspectors to make sure all this radioactive material is stored safely.

Mark Leftly: The bruiser is right about Britain's productivity gap

Westminster Outlook More news of this column's hero from last week, the maverick Conservative MP for Northampton South, Brian Binley. Done – temporarily – with verbally skewering the ministers and advisers involved with undervaluing Royal Mail by around £1bn when it was privatised in October, the 72-year-old has returned to his greatest concern, the fate of small business.

Mark Leftly: Royal Mail's cheap float and the elephant in the room

Westminster Outlook Back to the Royal Mail and the Business Select Committee on which Mr Binley sits. During last week's mauling of the Business Secretary Vince Cable and his advisers over the postal service's botched flotation, Tory minister Michael Fallon made a little- noticed comment that should have turned the tables on the committee.

BAE Systems under new attack as arms protesters target AGM

Campaigners vow 'a few surprises' will be waiting for the defence giant's board and investors at its annual meeting this week

Keith Simpson on the warpath: Frontrunner for Defence Committee job vows to ensure 'real accountability' at MoD

The Government department has been criticised for budget overruns in recent years
The LibDems want to help impoverished areas improve their surgeries

Pay doctors extra to help the poor, say Lib Dems

Party looks to revive 'patient premium' to address inequalities in access to healthcare

Mark Leftly: How battling Binley put his stamp on the Royal Mail sell-off inquisition

Westminster Outlook: Mr Binley has absolutely thundered at what passes for the financial logic of the Royal Mail flotation

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam