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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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Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture