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Purnell quits and tells PM to stand aside

Gordon Brown suffered another crippling blow last night when the Blairite Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell, resigned from the Government.

The Sketch: The front bench just sat there like sacks containing the remains of the Government

A "great groan" went up from the crowd when the king of England was beheaded in Whitehall. The Labour Party doesn't understand the need for groaning practice. My word, they are going to be harrowed by what comes next. They are going to be turned over and exposed to the crows. If they think it's bad now it's only because they haven't understood the utterly preoccupying 10-year grieving process for regicides.

Fateful encounter that could seal Brown's fate

To lose one cabinet minister is bad luck. To lose two – within 24 hours – is the sort of carelessness that could finish off Gordon Brown's leadership.

No 10 defends ministers over tax advice claims

Downing Street today moved to defend ministers under fire for claiming for tax advice on their parliamentary expenses.

Playing the system: Loopholes used to avoid tax

Jane Merrick and Brian Brady report on the ways politicians have maximised their allowances for houses

Labour rocked by expenses revelations

Brown, Mandelson, Straw and Blears highlighted in embarrassing leak

Please look after our Turners, Mr Wen

The Government has pledged millions to underwrite an exhibition of the artist's work in Beijing

When will they learn? The pap who tried to tip off his victims

Emily Dugan talks to photographer Steve Back, who foresaw a Bob Quick-style scandal

Letters: Police treatment of climate campers

How we rescued our daughter from the police

John Rentoul: Caroline Flint, a fast reader

This morning Iain Dale, the Conservative blogger, reproduced a handout from Mark Francois, the shadow Europe minister, which claimed that Caroline Flint, the actual Europe minister, said she had not read the Lisbon Treaty.

Minister tells unions to stop boosting the BNP

Labour officials fear rise of far-right in North-west, Yorkshire and Humber regions

John Rentoul: We all throw a tantrum once in a while

The people are revolting and they don't care about the small print. Jobs are going – and they're going to others

Intervening to prop up pound is 'recipe for failure', says Brown

PM expected to admit today that he should have been tougher with 'freewheeling bankers'

You can go and work in Europe, Mandelson tells strikers

Unions furious as ministers take aim at Britain's wildcat protesters

Mary Dejevsky: Firework fun alongside the orange-jackets

The new year firework display in London was the best I can remember. The shapes, the colours, the luminous reflections in the river put us right up there with Sydney, Athens and Edinburgh – if international competition is how you judge these things. Mayor Boris did everyone a favour with his upbeat message, projected on to City Hall. Thank goodness someone in charge is looking on the bright side.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game