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Aidan Burley, the Tory MP who bought a Nazi uniform for a friend to wear at a stag party, is presumably relieved by the conclusions of a report by Lord Gold, a Tory peer who was asked by the party to look into the affair. He concluded Mr Burley “is not a bad man, still less a racist or an anti-Semite” but he is stupid.

The Gamal, By Ciarán Collins. Bloomsbury Circus, £12.99

"Once upon a time," begins Ciarán Collins' debut novel, "there were two lovers called Sinéad and James." She is a local girl from a poor Catholic family where her home life is troubled and her parents abusive, while James is the son of a well-off Protestant couple who move to the area to renovate an old castle.

The Sketch: How ethical activity and processing propriety can make one forgetful...

There is a Director of Propriety and Ethics for the Government. Is she busy? Are her days full of ethical activity, does she process much propriety?

Brown 'scrapped 10p tax band to woo Murdoch'

Gordon Brown was so "obsessed" with trying to win the support of Rupert Murdoch while he was Prime Minister that he drew up his tax policies to appeal to the media magnate, according to a book published tomorrow.

Yes, Prime Minister: Why we will never be without spin doctors

David Cameron will be hoping that his new advisor, Craig Oliver, attracts fewer headlines than his predecessor.

Mandelson: The Real PM? London Film Festival

A spotlight on the Prince of Darkness

Diary: A new phase opens in Labour's civil war

Neatly timed for the publication of the 127th book about the first instalment (Jonathan Powell's), the Labour Civil War Mark II began at the weekend. Leading the neo-Blairite cavaliers was Peter Hyman, the Mr Tony adviser turned inner-city Mr Chips and Newsnight sage, who deflected any suspicions about his friend David Miliband's sense of entitlement by accusing Little Ed of "stealing his brother's crown". Ed's victory was a "catastrophe" for Labour, says Peter.

Don't back me for leader, Miliband urged Blair

David Miliband appealed to Tony Blair not to issue a public declaration of support in his battle to become the next Labour leader, fearing it could damage rather than boost his prospects in the contest, The Independent can reveal.

Diary: Time to get real, Jamie

Apart from the odd lard-chomping American telling him just where he could put his recent healthy eating campaign, Jamie Oliver's culinary empire has continued to expand with little trouble. Yet I hear Oliver could have his work cut out convincing some potentially troublesome natives in St Albans, where he's just bought The Bell pub – nostalgically renowned among local romantics, I'm told, for its trademark aroma of "stale lager and cheap perfume".

Pariah! Reaction to 'The Third Man'

His controversial return to the front benches two years ago helped to shore up Gordon Brown's government and finally won him the admiration of his party. Now Peter Mandelson has thrown it all away – for money

Sound and fury, but little dynamite so far in the Mandelson memoirs

In April 2008, Lord Mandelson began gathering material for his memoirs. After trawling through his private papers, he was almost breathless with excitement as he told friends: "It's a goldmine. You can't imagine what I have found."

Mandelson memoir sparks Labour Party infighting

Senior Labour figures pleaded for calm yesterday as the imminent publication of Peter Mandelson's memoirs, The Third Man, provoked a fresh round of party infighting.

Matthew Norman: The ghouls, the narcissist and top jobs at CNN

With questions raised about the ghoulishness with which the media covered Raoul Moat's final days, a word of praise for two leaders of this frantic festival of broadcast Americana. Kay Burley, the Walter Cronkite du jour who so skillfully downplayed the horrors of 9/11 ("If you're just joining us, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated ..."), added to her portfolio of triumphs on Sky News. She asked a criminologist: "Living rough for a narcissist must be tricky?" Well, it must. So hard to find a full length mirror. Speaking of narcissism, hats off to John Inverdale. With so sensitive a breaking story, what you really want at the helm is the sports guy, and John's transition from sipping Pimm's with Boris Becker at Wimbledon to spearheading Radio 5 Live's midday show was seamless. Watching the live feed from Rothbury, he touched on the paradox that, in the midst of all the horror, it looked so sleepily picturesque. "It's almost," he said, "like a scene from Midsomer Murders." He lost it for a bit after that, the sound of blood whooshing to his cheeks clearly audible, but recovered his sangfroid so well that he is said to be CNN's top target this autumn.

Mandelson blamed for Labour's election 'disaster'

Lord Mandelson was today blamed for the "disaster" of Labour's general election campaign by one of Gordon Brown's closest allies.

Labour leadership race hots up as Burnham accuses rivals of smear

Andy Burnham, a contender for the leadership of the Labour Party, has accused supporters of a rival camp of conducting "malicious briefing" in the hope of getting him to throw in the towel. His remarks are the first public sign of mutual antagonism in a leadership contest that has been marked by restrained language up to now.

Andy McSmith: A union in name only: why ballot blunders threaten Unite's resolve

Our writer finds members despondent at leaders' mistakes
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

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Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

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Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

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No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
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Chilly Christmas

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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
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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

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From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
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Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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