Alan Johnson

The Sketch: Osborne shows no fear as the big fight turns out to be a

My, how he's grown. Isn't it remarkable how the trappings of the priestly caste make it look as though George Osborne knows what he's talking about? Just because he is able to say he will group questions; just because he has got his voice by the throat; just because people are beginning to get used to the idea that when someone says "Chancellor of the Exchequer" they mean him – just because of those things, he can play at student debating and make it look like serious politics.

Forces 'will lose 10,000 police' as cuts hit home

England and Wales will have 10,000 fewer police officers by 2013 as a result of reductions in force budgets, Labour Party analysis suggests. Planned job cuts announced so far by the country's 43 police forces amounted to 10,190 police officer posts and a further 10,146 police staff.

Diary: Mandy out of step with Beeb

Waltzing Peter Mandelson, seen here strutting his stuff at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom, will not be appearing on his beloved Strictly Come Dancing, but controversy still rages as to who snubbed whom: Mandy or the BBC. The former First Secretary suggested stroppily to Total Politics magazine that no invitation to strut his stuff had been forthcoming: "They had their opportunity [to ask me]," he said, "and now they can get lost." Yet the Corporation's head of comms for Entertainment insists that, on the contrary, Mandelson declined an offer to take part – unlike cross-party fox-trotters Ann Widdecombe and Vince Cable, who is due to feature in a Christmas special. Well, it is two years since Mandy first expressed his interest in the show; perhaps the Beeb just played too hard to get.

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