News Lynton Crosby has told ministers to stop announcing minor policies which distract from the party's core messages

Government departments have effectively been banned from promoting initiatives that are not central to the party’s key election themes of crime, the economy, immigration and welfare

David Prosser: Cuts, cuts and more cuts

Outlook Two numbers that ought to frighten you (and that you certainly didn't hear during the Chancellor's pre-Budget report on Wednesday). They are 16 per cent and £15bn.

Sean O'Grady: What gruesome deal was behind this betrayal?

Like the tale of Cinderella's delicate glass slipper and the ugly sisters, the EU seems to have difficulty trying to find a policy on footwear that fits.

The Sketch: More a living will than a Queen's Speech

"Check against delivery". That was the instruction on the front of the Queen's Speech. It's the one thing we don't have to worry about with our head of state. She won't get seized with inspiration and announce a "November Guarantee to create 30,000 jobs".

Philip Stevens: Aid alone will not help

Despite record levels of foreign aid for health, almost no progress is being made in improving child mortality in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Many countries are going backwards.

Coat check: The best high street cover-ups

It's the most important purchase of the season – but it needn't be the most expensive. From trenches to capes, Gemma Hayward picks the best cover-ups on the high street

Bono delivers aid plea to Tories: Cutbacks 'must not cost lives'

U2 frontman Bono made a surprise appearance via videolink at the Tory party conference today.

Stretch your legs: The hot new looks that could tempt us out of our favourite jeans this autumn

It's hard to tempt a girl out of her jeans, but this season's alternatives – from playful dungarees to super-skinny cords – might be enough to make her ditch those denims

Britain pledges £8.5bn boost for education in war zones

Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal and Nigeria cited as priorities

Dominic Lawson: The West's aid to Africa does nothing but ease its conscience

I do wish Cameron would break with the policy of oiling up to rock stars like Bono

Is aid the best way for rich countries to help the developing world?

Yes

Oliver Buston

Has anything of substance come out of L'Aquila for the world's poor? Today's announcement of a deal to support farmers in poor countries is potentially one of the brighter moments. The aim of the $20bn ($12bn) package is to help poor countries feed themselves rather than us doling out millions in food aid to keep them alive. And one day soon they might even be able to feed us, too.

The Pursuit of Laughter, By Diana Mosley

"Clever, good company, always ready with a sarcastic witticism." The life and soul of the party being described is Dr Joseph Goebbels.

Brown accuses Tories over public services spending

Gordon Brown accused the Tories today of planning deep cuts in public services after a senior member of the Shadow Cabinet said most departments would have to slash budgets by 10 per cent.

Hamish McRae: Could charities come to our rescue?

A public-service revolution looms – and the voluntary sector does wonderful things

Sri Lanka's government to halt offensive for two days

Sri Lanka's president has ordered a two-day suspension of offensives against Tamil Tiger rebels in order to enable tens of thousands of trapped civilians to leave the war zone, his office said yesterday.

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas