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What with being the first contestant to be voted out of the Big Brother house, not to mention facing ongoing calls to be burned at the stake by the Daily Mail, it's proved a fraught few days for Speaker's wife Sally Bercow. So, amid these troubled times, what could be more welcome than the sight of her very own knight in shining armour triumphantly emerging over the horizon with the express intention of putting Sally's numerous enemies to the sword? "Pray, who could this valiant warrior be?" I hear you ask. "Why, I think it's our favourite Estonian and glamour model-botherer Lembit 'Lancelot' Opik!" Oh! comes the admittedly deflated reply. Still, it's a bank holiday and Hugh Grant didn't have the decency to return my (numerous) calls. "There's a difference between having depth and being a celebrity," declares Lembit, himself a reality television reject of note. "Sally has something to say. I supported her decision to go on the programme. My advice to Sally would now be to pursue any libel actions." Her weary other Senor Bercow would be wise to keep the impressionable Sally away from this man's mysterious charms.

The Blagger's Guide To... The London Literature Festival

Pimm's the word at capital show's fifth-year party

Leading article: Let's hold the Tories to account

The Prime Minister is well qualified for the job in at least one important sense: he is lucky. He is lucky that Nick Clegg has absorbed most of the opprobrium directed at the coalition in its first year. From some of the press coverage recently, a Rip Van Winkle might rub his eyes and conclude that Mr Clegg was the most evil man in Britain. Yet anyone who has actually been awake during the past 12 months must know that Mr Clegg is trying to promote the values of social justice and toleration for which his party stands. As John Rentoul argues today, one may disagree with the way he has gone about it, but one should not doubt his sincerity or seriousness of purpose.

Jon Cruddas: The question is, do we trust the people?

Democracy in Britain has always grown in the face of opposition from those who say the people are not ready, that change is too dangerous.

Lib Dems: 'Corrupt system elected Thatcher'

The war of words over electoral reform flared up further today as a senior Liberal Democrat branded first-past-the-post a "corrupt" system which had allowed Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government to practise "organised wickedness" in the 1980s.

Justice Secretary warning over ECHR judgments

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has been "rather too ready to substitute its own judgment for that of national courts", the Justice Secretary said today.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails &amp; online postings (20 March 2011)

Retirement may be leisure for a few, but for many nothing could be further from the truth ("Pensioners should pull their weight", 13 March). People are living longer, but not necessarily healthier. Each has a life-limiting persistent illness or disability for, on average, 15 years. Although those in their late sixties and seventies may wish to continue to work, they can find themselves caring round-the-clock for a family member or friend. The biggest increase in the ageing population is in the oldest old, whose own children are likely to fall into this particular age group.

Tim Montgomerie: Only long-term plans will ease short-term pain

Some opinion polls suggest Labour is now opening up a double digit lead. As the cuts bite the unpopularity will only get worse. The Tory grassroots will absorb these mid-term blues if they think David Cameron has a long-term plan for victory.

MPs throw out move to give vote to convicts at behest of Europe

The decision over whether prisoners should be entitled to vote could be handed to judges after moves to allow some offenders to take part in elections were overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

MPs rebel over giving the vote to prisoners

Both the Conservatives and Labour are struggling to contain rebellions among their MPs over whether prisoners should get the right to vote at general elections.

The Blagger's Guide To...The London Magazine

All you need to know about the hottest literary topic of the week

Victory &ndash; but at what price?

Dateline Westminster: In the Commons, the vote is won. But outside, the tuition fee battle still rages.

Clegg concedes party is split as Tories defect too

The Liberal Democrat rebellion over university tuition fees faded last night when all the party's ministers pledged to support plans to allow universities to charge students up to £9,000 a year.

Village People: Davis makes a clean breast of it. But has he boobed?

The cosmetics firm Rodial obviously cares about its reputation, having sent a solicitors letter to Dr Dalia Nield, of the London Clinic, for expressing doubts about its product "Boob Job", a cream costing £125 a bottle, which they say can raise a woman's bust size by half a cup.

Plan to avoid Cabinet split on terror controls

Control orders could be replaced with a three-tier system of restrictions for terror suspects to avoid a Cabinet split on the issue, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation said today.



101,000 stop and searches. No terror arrests

Heavy-handed police tactics have harmed race relations, human rights groups warn
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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

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The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
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At dawn, the young remember the young

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Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
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Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
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The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

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Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions