Mark Leftly

Mark Leftly is Associate business editor for The Independent

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Rumours that Jo Swinson could become Scottish Secretary were dashed

Liberal Democrat women criticise Nick Clegg's all-male Cabinet team

Promoting a female member would demonstrate that the party is ‘serious’, say campaigners

MoD makes poor case for the defence in raising top pay to bring down costs

Westminster Outlook While there might be a certain, seemingly counter-intuitive, logic to paying higher salaries as a way of cutting costs, I’m not sure the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is providing the best template for the theory.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

Probation service sell-off faces legal challenge from unions

Exclusive: Napo is hoping to block the MoJ’s plans, partly because the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling did not pilot the reforms

The Government will pay the next chief executive of Defence Equipment & Support a £250,000 salary plus a bonus of up to a further £250,000

MoD defends new CEO's £500,000 pay that unions label 'utterly outrageous'

The Ministry of Defence is looking to appoint what could be the country's best-paid civil servant on a salary of up to £500,000, a move that unions have blasted as "utterly outrageous".

Stoke-on-Trent believes HS2 could bring £200m to the city

HS2 rail-link: Stoke readies for fight against Crewe as route for second phase of high-speed line

Threat of 'judicial review' as Potteries seeks to benefit from potential £200m in benefits to local economic
David Cameron speaking after the Scottish referendum result

Stop changing laws behind closed doors, say experts

Leading members of the civic society call for the public to be involved in an open discussion on how we should be governed in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum

'Invitation only' process for Crossrail 2 tenders

Exclusive: US engineers have been particularly successful in winning the country’s biggest programme and project management jobs

Mark Leftly: New runways will fly – in the face of Lib Dems

Westminster Outlook Earlier this month, Lib Dem activists voted down their leadership’s attempt to make supporting airport expansion party policy.

Mark Leftly: What if everyone said exactly what they meant?

Westminster Outlook One of the more amusing moments at Business Select Committee hearings over the past year was when the plain-speaking Tory Brian Binley railed against financial jargon.

Mark Leftly: It’s easy to set targets for homes, much harder to set them in stone

Westminster Outlook He may not be a mad-eyed, drug-fuelled, alcohol-soaked loudmouth with an axe to grind and an axe in his hand, but Tim Farron is the closest thing to a rock star that the Liberal Democrats have got. A 44-year-old fell running enthusiast, who has made his name with a folksy turn of language, he couldn’t walk a couple of yards at this month’s Lib Dem conference in Glasgow without being mobbed for selfies, autographs or a chat.

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Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect