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Damian McBride

Ed Balls denies role in 'coup plot'

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls today denied involvement in a plot to oust Tony Blair as Prime Minister, following the leak of a cache of private documents detailing Gordon Brown's preparations to take power.

Brown 'scrapped 10p tax band to woo Murdoch'

Gordon Brown was so "obsessed" with trying to win the support of Rupert Murdoch while he was Prime Minister that he drew up his tax policies to appeal to the media magnate, according to a book published tomorrow.

Diary: 'Hurly' Burley's racy ladies

Though keen to work my way through all 424 pages of Kay "Hurly" Burley's debut novel First Ladies, I must confess to having been waylaid by its acknowledgements section: a revealing roll call of the company Ms Burley keeps when she's not on Sky News encouraging celebrity divorcees to blub. The erstwhile ice dancer's first two thank-yous go to fellow chick-lit authors Tasmina Perry and Kathy Lette, who obligingly provided First Ladies with pre-publication puff quotes. Lord Mandelson, too, merits Ms Burley's gratitude, and claims on the cover that she "uses her unrivalled knowledge of the worlds of politics, media and celebrity to racy effect". (Yes, Peter, but is it any good?) Also thanked profusely are former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who left office under a cloud of (alleged) dubious financial dealings; Damian McBride, who left Gordon Brown's employ when he was caught discussing whether to spread scandalous tales about the private lives of Tories; and Lord Archer, who was jailed for perjury. If you need help creating a work of fiction, I suppose there are worse people to ask.

The Sketch: A tale of two Eds – Balls' loss turns out to be

You must have noticed Ed Balls working at his reinvention. It's "new balls please" in the shadow Home Office. For years he was the sorcerer's apprentice, the imp who mixed the phials of poison for his boss Brown. He handled Damian McBride, he stoked the loathing for Tony Blair. And he could win almost any fight because there were two of him.

The Brown paradox

His 'psychological flaws' have become notorious. And yet, says Donald Macintyre, Gordon Brown may just have saved his party

Pandora: I'm just too busy for all this, declares Peston

While Nick Robinson enjoyed a successful stint as guest host on Newsnight this week, his high-profile colleague and rival Robert Peston – the BBC Business Editor who is said to covet Robinson's gig as the corporation's political supremo – announces that he is far too busy for similar undertakings.

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Yvette Cooper: You Ask The Questions

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Labour MP for Pontefract and Castleford answers your questions, such as 'Shouldn't Brown pay his own cleaner?' and 'Can you see any green shoots?'

David Cameron: I'll pull the plug on Brown

He's miles ahead in the polls, and is set to score handsomely in next month's elections. This time next year, the Conservative leader can expect to be Prime Minister. Except that he knows he can afford to take nothing for granted

From hero to zero: Gordon's cruellest month

The host of the G20 summit has seen his reputation crumble in four painful weeks. Worse still, reports Andrew Grice, it's not events that are to blame – it's the Prime Minister's judgement