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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.

Mandelson to become EU aide for Cook

PETER MANDELSON is to take on a new role as an unofficial adviser to Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, to help him to strengthen Britain's links with European Union partners.

Straw's red card system attacked

THE INFLUENCE of footballing terminology on all areas of British life continued apace when the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, announced that "red and yellow cards" are to be shown to offenders who breach their community sentences.

Whelan leaves Treasury to become chat-show host

CHARLIE WHELAN, Gordon Brown's spin-doctor finally department Whitehall last night to start a new career as a chat show host on BBC Radio Five Live.

What's wrong with vindictive wives?

I HAVE read with incredulity the rubbish, mostly written by fortysomething men up to no good I am sure, that has followed in the wake of the book by Margaret Cook (dump the surname - Margaret) about her marriage to Robin Cook, and the ignoble end at Heathrow airport of that period of her life. It is personal, they say - vindictive, vengeful and embittered.

Information debate: Spinning `won't stop'

THE PROBLEM of spin- doctoring will "never completely go away", Jack Cunningham, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said yesterday amid growing concern about the influence of press aides such as Alastair Campbell.

PM's Question Time: Labour woes `made NHS crisis worse'

WILLIAM HAGUE claimed yesterday the past weeks of turmoil within the Government had been a "disgrace" that had directly affected the crisis in the NHS.

Coming out as a Mondeo man

For the new aristocrats in the media this nice car, slightly lacking in poke, represents `them out there'

Labour In Turmoil: Cunningham `spent cash on private jets'

LABOUR WAS embroiled in a new row over ministerial spending yesterday as Jack Cunningham, the Cabinet Office enforcer, was accused of wasting taxpayer's money on travelling in private jets to meetings.

Our top story of the day: new sets please, we're British

Channel 4 News C4 Newsnight BBC2

Parents told to do times tables

Labour's unhappy new year: Government tries to turn attention from Cabinet feuds to core domestic issues

Say 'Keynes' if you are opposed to Blair

ONE OF the mistakes people make about Mr Tony Blair is to look at his face rather than attend to his language. This is why, in an age dominated by television, he has so far been such a successful politician. His response to the resignations of Mr Peter Mandelson, Mr Geoffrey Robinson and Mr Charlie Whelan has been one of truculence mitigated by insouciance.

News monkey; A simian slant on last week's news

t HOSPITAL CRISIS. The NHS is either coping perfectly well with the winter rush or falling apart at the seams, your point of view largely depending on whether you're Frank Dobson or everybody else. In what amounts to a kind of millennium bug dry-run, a flu outbreak combined with a record shortage of nurses has led to some hospitals asking relatives to nurse their own kin. If the shortage gets any worse the NHS may have to rethink its official resistance to the hiring of crazy people who think they are nurses.

Sir Peter's pale head rolls at the feet of Queen Cherie

What sort of ghastly error can you mean? Explain yourself, my enigmatic Queen

Blair: `My ministers are united'

TONY BLAIR sought yesterday to reassert his authority over his feuding Cabinet and to put his New Labour project back on course by reaffirming his strong personal alliance with the Chancellor, Gordon Brown.

There's nothing journalists love more than flexing their muscles

Run enough stories and eventually there will be a reaction. This reaction, of course, vindicates the stories
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A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory