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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.
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