News High five: Obama and Cameron playing table tennis at the Globe Academy School in London 2011

The 'special relationship' is stronger than it’s ever been

Andy McSmith's Diary: ‘Prophylactic’ Nick Clegg is no protection against Boris Johnson

Nick Clegg is David Cameron’s condom, according to the latest insult directed at the Deputy Prime Minister by London’s irrepressible Mayor, Boris Johnson.

Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly insisted that the task of clearing the deficit is not completed

George Osborne insists Britain must make £25bn more welfare cuts in 2014

The Chancellor has branded 2014 the 'year of hard truths'

Scottish independence: David Cameron aims to win Scots' hearts

The campaign against Scottish independence must move beyond economics to arguments of the “head and heart”, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

David Cameron called Anne McIntosh one of the party's 'most assiduous' MPs

North Yorkshire female MP Anne McIntosh faces deselection in challenge to David Cameron

One of the Conservatives’ few female MPs in the North of England is facing a damaging second reselection battle amid an outbreak of infighting.

Waves hit the seafront at Brighton

Government warned to cancel flood specialists job cuts as storms continue to batter UK

More than 1,600 posts are due to go at the Environment Agency by October

David Cameron: Prime Minister becomes catalogue man in most comically staged photoshoot of his career

Was Cameron's plan to rope in some ordinary-looking types to promote the Help To Buy scheme? It appears to have gone laughably awry...

In a letter sent to Iain Duncan Smith, campaigners warned that disabled people make up two thirds of those hit by the policy

Bedroom tax hits 60,000 families with carers

About 60,000 families living in council homes where there is someone caring for an elderly or disabled relative have been caught out by the “bedroom tax”.

Householders have taken to Twitter to express their frustration towards energy companies handling the power cuts

Public anger grows at energy companies' handling of Christmas power cuts crisis

Thousands of homes are still without power

A third of gay voters now back Tories, poll finds

Tory support among the gay community has soared since David Cameron backed same-sex marriage, according to a poll.

Love it or hate it, 2013 will be remembered as the year of the selfie.

Year of the Selfie: The birth – and death – of 2013’s biggest star trend

From Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian to President Obama and Pope Francis, everyone has been getting in on the narcissistic portrait action

Many of the tributes focused on people’s fondness for the unique timbre of David Coleman's voice

Farewell to 'the voice of BBC Sport': Sports stars lead the tributes to legendary commentator David Coleman who has died aged 87

His rapt commentary has gripped sports fans for almost 50 years, but last night it was the man behind the microphone who was centre of attention as tributes flowed in for David Coleman, the veteran broadcaster who has died aged 87.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The last PMQs before Christmas. Thank goodness it comes round only once a year

Ah, the last Prime Minister’s Questions of the year. MPs always find it impossible not to overdo the festive references, as though they had just been given uniquely privileged inside information that Christmas was only a week away. There is the frankly obsequious kind, such as Therese Coffey’s: “Thank you for calling me, Mr Speaker, and a merry Christmas to you and your family. The people of Suffolk have enjoyed a cracker of a Christmas present with the excellent news on the A14 [not becoming a toll road]...” Then there is the beseeching, as in her fellow Tory Stewart Jackson’s: “Will the Prime Minister give an early Christmas present to Peterborough people by giving his personal support to our bid for a university technical college.”

Fears unfounded: The public debate is becoming ever more xenophobic, but the reality is that foreign workers are good for Britain

For every survey predicting a flood of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants in January, another anticipates but a trickle

Ed Miliband has argued that the package could not go ahead during the biggest cost of living crisis for a generation

PMQs: Miliband gives tour-de-force demonstration of how not to do it

A growing economy is bad news for Ed's 'cost of living crisis'

Prisoners serving less than a year should be allowed to vote, says Parliamentary committee

Prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less should be given the vote, the Government is today told by an all-party parliamentary committee.

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...