News Over 200,000 people have contacted their council for help following the last cut to benefits, however councils cannot keep up with the demand

Authorities had been forced to dip into funds allocated to other services to cope with the surge in numbers of households appealing for help

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Does Philip Davies really believe tattoos are a burden on the state?

In the often unintelligible acronym- and jargon-crazed world of Work and Pensions Questions, no-one could accuse the right-wing Tory Philip Davies of not telling it like he thinks it is.

Delays to welfare reform sees single parents lose up to £60 a week

The DWP said In Work Credits created a perverse incentive not to work as they were only open to claimants once they had been on benefits for a year

Chris Bryant forced to back down over claim Tesco and Next use cheap migrant workers

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant has backed down from his blunt claim that the supermarket giant Tesco had undercut the wages of its British employees by recruiting from eastern Europe.

Jim Messina masterminded Barack Obama’s successful campaign to retain office

Cameron's new star advisor Jim Messina accused of involvement in 'the most homophobic political advert in US history'

The allegations date back to Messina's time as chief of staff to Max Baucus

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Poetry corner or much ado about nothing...?

The gentleman appreciates beauty in many spheres of human endeavour

UKBA staff failed to check thousands of tip-offs about overseas students

UK Border Agency staff failed to check thousands of tip-offs about overseas students including whether they had actually enrolled on courses, a report said today.

Nadine Dorries returns from I'm A Celebrity to face the wrath of Chief Whip Sir George Young

Our diarist on the frosty welcome awaiting the return of the native

Editorial: Publish, or be damned

When it comes to the Leveson Inquiry, David Cameron is full of warm words. Yesterday's Prime Minister's Questions was no exception. For all that Labour's Steve Rotherham tried to goad him, Mr Cameron was full of reassurances about the need for proper regulation of the press and reminders that it was he who had set up the probe in the first place.

The Prime Minister lost his cool in the Commons

Angry Cameron breaks protocol in refusing to tell MPs about emails to Rebekah Brooks

David Cameron is under pressure to release private emails exchanged with Rebekah Brooks that he has withheld from the Leveson Inquiry, after extraordinary scenes in the House of Commons in which he refused to answer a question on the issue.

Pressure grows on David Cameron to release 'secret' Rebekah Brooks emails

Labour says Downing Street must show there is no cover-up over News Corp messages

Mississippi church barred black couple from marrying

Mississippi's Governor has described the refusal by a predominantly white church to allow a black couple to get married there as "unfortunate".

250 foreign criminals escape deportation

The Home Office allowed 250 foreign criminals who should have been deported at the end of their prison sentences to stay in Britain without their cases being considered by a court, it was reported today.

The Sketch: Ed Miliband has improved so much, he has gone from hopeless to ridiculous

"Isn't it stupid that," the Tory lady began – and then stopped. What a world of possibilities opened up for us. What is stupid is the Government hasn't offered free puppies to all children under five. No wonder their reputation for competence is shot.

Commons to investigate hacking 'lies'

The Commons standards watchdog has been asked to examine claims that three former News International executives lied to MPs examining the phone-hacking scandal.

Vaizey row over 'Britain bigger than Morocco' statement

A Government minister was urged to “recognise the importance of geography” today after claiming Britain was bigger than Morocco.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
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