News Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Ed Balls could consider increasing the top rate of tax to 55p or even 60p if he became Chancellor, former Trade minister Digby Jones claimed today.

City refuses to panic over the loss of UK's AAA credit rating

The City refused to panic over the loss of the UK’s AAA rating today as shares headed higher and sterling avoided a major sell-off.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien 'has right to choose next Pope'

Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric should be allowed to help choose the next Pope despite facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour, the former archbishop of Westminster said today.

Andrew Marr edited 'The Independent' between 1996 and 1998

BBC's Marr 'continuing to progress' after stroke

Broadcaster Andrew Marr is conscious and “responding to medication” while “continuing to progress” as he recovers in hospital following a stroke, the BBC said.

Andrew Marr edited 'The Independent' between 1996 and 1998

BBC's Andrew Marr in hospital after stroke

Andrew Marr, the TV presenter and journalist, has had a stroke, the BBC said today. The 53-year-old presenter of The Andrew Marr Show and Start the Week was taken ill on Tuesday and is recovering in hospital.

PM defends child benefit cuts and tells middle class to pay share

Parents in households where one of them earns above £50,000 a year lost some or all of their right to child benefit at midnight despite a long campaign against the move.

David Cameron defends 'fundamentally fair' child benefit cuts

David Cameron today defended controversial cuts to child benefit payments that come into effect at midnight, insisting the reforms were "fundamentally fair".

London mayor Boris Johnson urges EU vote before next election

Boris Johnson intensified the pressure on David Cameron today by calling for a vote on Britain’s place in Europe before the next general election.

Geri Halliwell and Danny Alexander on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday

Danny Alexander warns firms who use legal tax avoiding schemes that payment is an 'obligation' not an 'option'

Multinational firms who use tax havens and other legal tax avoiding devices were told today that paying tax is not an “option” like putting money on a collection plate, but an “obligation”.

Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that he would look for greater contributions from the wealthy as he seeks to tackle the UK’s deficit

Government considering £1.8bn raid on tax relief

The amount of money that people will be able to pay into their pension pots without paying tax on it could be slashed by up to a third as part of a £1.8bn raid on tax relief.

The Chancellor, George Osborne

George Osborne admits recovery is taking longer than expected and government will miss economic targets

George Osborne admitted it was taking longer for Britain to recover from the financial crisis than he hoped today amid warnings that the Government would miss its key economic targets..

'Do you want to know my toilet habits?' Lord Patten clashes with MPs over BBC Trust job

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten was forced to defend his role amid scathing criticism by MPs today.

UK needs to 'beef up' action against tax avoidance, says Cable

The UK needs to “beef up” action against tax avoidance and subterfuge by big firms, Business Secretary Vince Cable said, accusing some of engaging in “systematic abuse”.

Theresa May: commissioners will be the voice of the people

Police and crime commissioners will take the “voice of the people” to forces across the country, Home Secretary Theresa May said yesterday as she attempted to drum up turnout ahead of the first elections for the positions on Thursday.

The BBC chairman Chris Patten (left) has been commenting after last night's resignation of the BBC Director General George Entwistle (right)

More heads will roll at the BBC, says Lord Patten

No end to the bloodletting as chairman’s own job comes under pressure, while broadcaster refuses to name executive who signed off on Newsnight report

Government has made a shambles of police and crime commissioners plans, says Labour

The Government has made “a shambles” of its flagship criminal justice plans for elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), Labour said today.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
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