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

Nick Clegg, right, and his wife Miriam, centre, on a visit to the Spanish town of Olmedo

Sun, sea, sand... and the eyes of the world upon you

The traditionally precarious holiday season for the nation’s leading politicians is once more upon us.

Mary Macleod

At last – equality in the aristocracy: After a change in royal succession rules, blue-blood daughters' hopes are up

Controversial proposals to allow first-born girls to inherit aristocratic titles look likely to be given the green light after senior cabinet sources indicated the move would not be opposed by the Government.

Plain cigarette packaging: Labour urges Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to intervene over Lynton Crosby 'lobbying'

Labour have attempted to ratchet up the pressure on Britain’s most senior civil servant to intervene in the row over allegations that the Conservatives’ election guru used his position to lobby ministers on behalf of private clients.

David Cameron dodges Lynton Crosby tobacco lobbying question as links to private health firms are revealed

David Cameron was facing fresh questions about his election guru Lynton Crosby after it emerged the lobbyist's firm advised a private health alliance at the time of the Government's controversial NHS reforms.

More allotments are being sold off by councils

Allotment-holders take legal action against Eric Pickles

Legal action launched over decision to allow sale of sites

Grant Cameron, Suneet Jeerh and Karl Williams were arrested during a holiday in Dubai last year

Three Britons jailed in Dubai drugs case pardoned in amnesty for Ramadan

Three British men who were jailed for drug offences in Dubai earlier this year have been pardoned under a United Arab Emirates amnesty for Ramadan, according to the legal rights charity Reprieve.

Olympic volunteers pose in front of the National Gallery before the victory parade

Volunteer numbers receive Olympic boost

The steady decline in Britain’s volunteer culture was dramatically halted by the Olympic and Paralympic Games as thousands both formally and informally offered to help others for the first time, an official review has revealed.

Tony Blair slaps down David Cameron over lobbying claims

Tony Blair has slapped down David Cameron for suggesting that the former prime minister used his position to lobby him – possibly for private clients.

The Prime Minister with Lynton Crosby in April last year

Smoke, but no fire: Labour should stop banging on about Lynton Crosby

The median voter has no idea who this supposed magician might be

Lynton Crosby, the Conservatives’ election strategist

Smoking gun? David Cameron dodges Lynton Crosby cigarette packaging controversy question

Tory strategist’s links to cigarette giant pile pressure on PM after  tobacco policy U-turn

Britain last week postponed plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes

Tobacco industry told Government it was too early to tell if plain cigarette packaging would work – six months later ministers agreed

A major tobacco firm told the Government it was too early to assess whether selling cigarettes in plain packets would deter smokers – six months before ministers deployed the same argument.

Government in fresh bid to outlaw hardline Islamists

Efforts to outlaw the Hizb ut-Tahrir group have foundered as it does not advocate terrorism

Simon Read: Education about finance must be engaging for kids

The Prime Minister this week confirmed that financial education will be compulsory in English schools from September 2014.

Iain Duncan Smith is facing criticism that Universal Credit leaves some families worse off

Working families will be ‘worse off’ under Universal Credit scheme

Some working families will be worse off under Iain Duncan Smith's flagship Universal Credit - even though it was intended to encourage people back into work, according to research published today.

The Foreign Secretary referred to Cathy Jamieson MP as a 'stupid woman'

William Hague calls Labour MP Cathy Jamieson a 'stupid woman' during Prime Minister's Questions

Conservatives risk becoming embroiled in another misogyny row

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future