News Vicky Pryce: 'Keeping women close to their families is absolutely essential'

Former civil servant will continue to be part of panel in an unpaid position

Leading article: Banish apathy and vote to change politics for the better

Optimism is the appropriate mentality. We will see bottom-up politics in action

AV referendum 'will change coalition' says Clegg

This week's referendum on voting reform will change the nature of the coalition Government, regardless of its result, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said today.

Diary: Revenge on our Hugh

Wily swordsman Hugh Grant doubtlessly thought he was a right old clever dick when he pulled a fast one over that tabloid weasel Paul McMullan the other week.

Huhne hints at AV legal action move

A senior Liberal Democrat minister is threatening legal action against the No to AV campaign in a move which could potentially open up a damaging new rift in the coalition.

Clegg lashes out against Tory 'lies' over AV campaign

In an exclusive interview, the Deputy Prime Minister reveals deep divisions in the coalition

Cable urges Labour support for AV

Business Secretary Vince Cable has urged Labour supporters to back the Alternative Vote (AV) in next month's referendum to help stop the Conservatives winning general elections.

Letters: Goldstone report

Yes campaign denies it kept black poet off leaflets

Campaigners supporting the alternative vote have denied accusations that they "airbrushed" the black poet Benjamin Zephaniah out of leaflets distributed in the Home Counties, Hampshire and Cornwall.

Diary: As Churchill might say, they have nothing to offer...

At times of national crisis, it is obligatory to turn to Churchill for inspiration. So to Chris Huhne and Baroness Warsi, I say this: if Winston and Lord Halifax could resolve the small matter of which of them would succeed Chamberlain in 1940 over a civil cup of cha, why can't you two behave yourselves over AV?

Hint of compromise on North Sea oil tax

The Government has given the first signs of rowing back on plans to hike taxes on North Sea oil and gas that are causing a furore in the industry.

No 'offsets' says climate committee

The UK should meet targets to reduce greenhouse gases up to 2017 by action at home and not by buying "offsets", the Government's climate committee said today.

Ofgem orders electricity reforms

The "big six" power suppliers should sell off up to a fifth of their electricity output in a move to "break the stranglehold" they have over the market, the energy watchdog said today.

Mary Ann Sieghart: What will the fallout be for our own energy policy?

For the Lib Dems, this could blow up into something nearly as potent as tuition fees. Thousands are likely to protest at the sites of new power stations

Leading article: Japan's disaster must prompt a new look at reactor safety

Amid the apocalyptic scenes reaching our television screens from northern Japan, it seems invidious to address just one aspect of this catastrophe or to draw any conclusions – so recently did disaster strike and so comprehensive is the destruction. Already, however, the disaster has posed with a new urgency a question that seemed to have been retreating from global concerns in recent years: how safe, really, is nuclear power?

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

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

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there