Steve Richards

Established as one of the most influential political commentators in the country, Steve Richards became The Independent’s chief political commentator in 2000 having been political editor of the New Statesman. He presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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Former Tory MP Douglas Carswell (right) has joined Ukip but this won't stop the existing Ukip candidate for Clacton, Roger Lord, from challenging the ex-MP for the right to represent the party in the forthcoming by-election

Carswell’s defection was a nightmare for Cameron, but disaffected Tories would be wise to stay put

For any Eurosceptic MP, Cameron's original offer is still their best bet

David Cameron and Ed Miliband

‘Showing leadership’ over Iraq is fraught with dangers for David Cameron

The public and parliament will no longer blindly support gung-ho action

Obama and Cameron’s response to the nightmare of Iraq is an incoherent mess

But after all the mistakes of 2003, are our Western leaders right to be so hesitant?

Is Ed Miliband a natural born leader? Or could he become one?

Here are the qualities you need to be a top political leader

You must have a background in epic Westminster battles, and a nose for PR

Tony and Cherie Blair on the day he was elected

That parts of the Labour Party still love Blair so much ought to worry the ‘new’ leadership

They cheer for Blair because he is not Miliband, who they fear will lose in 2015

After the reshuffle, the Tory front bench is about to become more feminine

But it will take more than symbolism to win next election

I recall the rumours of child abuse in Westminster in the 1980s. They weren’t taken very seriously

Was there a paedophile ring at Westminster? Was there a cover-up? The terms “cover-up and “Westminster paedophile ring” are volcanic. Put them together and there is bound to be an almighty eruption, and a further terrible breakdown in trust between voters and those who were or are public figures.

The Houses of Parliament

Rumours of sexual misconduct can no longer be brushed beneath the carpet

As more light is shed on our recent past a common theme emerges

When he finally stood down in Luxembourg last year, he had spent 18 years in power, making him one of the longest-serving democratically elected leaders in the world

Nothing Cameron could have done would have changed outcome in Europe

And a referendum won’t make the issue go away

Dolly Parton has confirmed she will play Glastonbury 2014

David Blunkett and Ed Miliband could learn a lot from Dolly Parton

In politics the inexperienced rise to the top, and it shows

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Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker