Mark Leftly

Mark Leftly is Associate business editor for The Independent

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Former Home Office minister Norman Baker says there is 'hysteria' over drug use in the UK

Alcohol is far more deadly than cannabis, former minister Norman Baker says

Just 13 deaths were related to cannabis use last year

Exclusive: Ofcom to criticise Royal Mail efficiency

It is thought Ofcom will echo criticisms made by Whistl that Royal Mail 'lags behind' other European Union postal services

Charities demand budget increase for life-saving cancer drugs fund

Charities have demanded an increase in the £280m budget for a fund that has given 55,000 cancer patients access to life-saving treatments, and medicines that have improved lives or made terminal illness more comfortable.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will drive a hard bargain in any coalition deal

New powers may let Scotland go it alone after all...

Peer's devolution report will recommend that Holyrood be given control of its electoral system
It was reported in the Sunday Mirror that former prime minister Gordon Brown will step down as an MP at the 2015 general election

Gordon Brown 'ready to quit as MP at election'

The former PM is looking to 'go out on a high' after helping rescue Scottish independence referendum 'No' vote
Royal Mail says rivals such as Whistl can ‘cherry-pick’ where they deliver

Rivals should be made to deliver regularly, and to any address, Royal Mail tells MPs

Royal Mail has told MPs that existing and potential rivals must be forced to deliver post for a set number of days and to every address in the regions they serve in order to protect the universal postal service.

Network Rail slammed after dismal record on punctuality

In the wake of a dire set of performance figures, Network Rail’s chief executive, Mark Carne, has been warned by the industry’s top regulator that his organisation is failing passengers.

Mark Leftly: Babcock catches the City with its defences down

Westminster Outlook Babcock International’s share price has fallen this year. Yesterday, the FTSE 100 group’s order backlog was up 15 per cent to £18.5bn, reflecting huge contract wins in defence, nuclear decommissioning and naval repairs.

Mark Leftly: Student loans - a sale waiting to happen if the Tories win

Westminster Outlook And here’s one of the first things a Tory government will privatise: the student loans book in England and Wales.

Mark Leftly: David Cameron walks the walk but he needs to talk the talk with unions

Westminster Outlook Perhaps it was because he opted out of drinking with his advisers at the almost perfectly named Lefty’s, an old-time music hall in Brisbane, in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it was quite remarkable how fresh-faced David Cameron appeared on his return to the House of Commons.

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'