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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

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Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

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'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

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Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

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King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

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