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

Diary: One more resignation to go, Gary

This column's sympathy goes out to the many unfortunate journalists losing their jobs at the News of the World – but particularly Gary Lineker. For while many hacks are justifiably upset by events, Lineker will be deprived not only of his column, but also of the chance to submit another principled letter of resignation. The ex-footballer relinquished his role with the Mail on Sunday when its Lord Triesman sting put England's 2018 World Cup bid in jeopardy. "The actions of the Mail on Sunday... have undermined the bid to bring the World Cup to England," he said at the time. And he was said to have been considering his role at NotW before yesterday's announcement, fearing that his reputation might be tarnished by association with the paper. (I am, of course, still awaiting Lineker's principled resignation from his estimated £1.5m-a-year job at Match of the Day, after the BBC broadcast Panorama's FIFA investigation in November: a programme widely credited with, er, undermining the bid to bring the World Cup to England. Ho hum.)

Chris Bryant: NoW closure bid to protect Rebekah Brooks

The MP who secured this week's dramatic parliamentary debate into the phone hacking scandal claimed the closure of the News of the World was an attempt to protect News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

The Sketch: Backbenchers feast for a day on lying, cheating, thieving and bribing

What a victory for the back benches – if it turns out to be a victory. The Commons, incredibly, may have done something in a timely way to change the course of events. How can Jeremy Hunt wave through the BSkyB deal now? How can he face the Commons after that lot yesterday, and say he has no power to stop the Murdoch takeover?

Murdoch empire in crisis

Families of war dead added to reported hacking victims as Prime Minister bows to pressure for public inquiry

Millions of medical records lost by the NHS

Millions of personal medical records have been lost by NHS trusts and hospitals, in the latest of a long series of data breaches which include staff losing laptops and memory sticks, and in one case faxing details of patients’ operations to the wrong number.

Met confirms it is considering new inquiry into 'NOTW'

News International faces the threat of a new police inquiry into allegations of illegal newsgathering techniques after Scotland Yard revealed it is considering a full criminal inquiry into the activities of a disgraced private eye who supplied the News of the World.

Police in dock over phone-hacking as Prescott wins judicial review

Scotland Yard will finally have to answer claims that for five years it deliberately played down the scale of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World, after Lord Prescott won the right to challenge police in the High Court over their failure to inform him and others that they were potential victims of voicemail interception.

Jude Law among lead hacking cases

Actor Jude Law's claim was named today as one of the lead cases in the News of the World phone-hacking litigation.

Government return for shamed David Laws?

Senior coalition figures were holding out the prospect of a return to government for David Laws tonight despite a damning verdict on his expenses claims.

Diary: Morrissey disgruntled again

As this column reported a mere fortnight ago, the terminally disgruntled Morrissey (né Smith) rained on the royal wedding parade, telling Radio 4's Front Row that the Windsors were "benefit scroungers and nothing else. I don't believe they serve any purpose whatsoever". The glum one has since released a rare statement via his website accusing the BBC of "Iranian censorship" for having "chopped and cropped" the interview, and thus "confiscated" his opinions. Morrissey, it seems, was especially irate that the media all but ignored the death of punk musician Poly Styrene in favour of "blubbering praise" for Kate Middleton. Warming to his Middle Eastern theme, he controversially went on: "The message is clear: What you achieve in life means nothing compared to what you are born into. Is this Syria?? [sic]"

Tea on the terrace at the Commons? MPs do their bit for struggling economy

The trials of Charles I, Sir Thomas More and Guy Fawkes took place there, and King Henry VIII is reputed to have honed his tennis skills in its wide open spaces. Now Westminster Hall, the only surviving medieval remnant of the Houses of Parliament, is to be transformed into a venue for hire at £25,000 a night.

MP: Teach girls virtues of virginity

Teenage girls would be given lessons at school on the benefits of abstaining from under-age sex under a Bill presented to the Commons yesterday.

Marr's approach to super-injunction: carry on and pretend it doesn't exist

Cahal Milmo on the presenter's first show since outing himself

Call for police chief to quit over meeting with ex-'NOTW' editor

John Yates, the senior police officer embroiled in the phone hacking affair, yesterday faced a call to step down after he told MPs that there was no reason for him to reveal a recent social engagement with a former senior executive at the News of the World.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness