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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.

Brown likely to win 42-day vote, say Tories

Gordon Brown is likely to escape defeat in tonight's crunch Commons vote on extending the pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects to 42 days, the Tories conceded today.

Bob Marshall-Andrews: This folly has provoked a unique alliance

The strong and growing opposition to detention for 42 days has created strange and wonderful bedfellows. Lord Peter Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, joins the usual Labour suspects in predicting ethnic and racial tension. (In view of his responsibility for the Iraq war this may reek of atonement, but the apostasy remains remarkable nonetheless.) Lord Falconer, devoid of his many jobs, embraces the Tory and Liberal opposition, while Liberty and the Director of Public Prosecutions drink happily from the same cup.

The Sketch: Stockpiling legislation like cans of fish

One theory has it that Labour is reverting to type as the natural party of opposition. Its coalition has collapsed, funding has dried up; they're back to the core vote of men with whippets. Gordon is set to be neither Eden nor Major. He will go down as the Iain Duncan Smith of leaders, but lacking that famous Tory's common touch.

Tories include Clegg in hung parliament plans

Senior Tories are discussing the prospect of David Cameron handing Nick Clegg the job of Home Secretary in a coalition government. In a move designed to push Gordon Brown further off the political centre ground, the overture to the Liberal Democrat leader is one option on the table for the Tories' strategy for a hung parliament.

The Sketch: Punchy PM may have boxed himself into a corner over dodgy campaign loans

There was Judy from Cameron, but from Brown it was Punch and Punch again. Cameron was "a shallow salesman" and nice young Nick was "Calamity Clegg". But the Speaker had called for more decorum, and in the quieter exchanges the arguments came through even to us, the easily distracted.

Brown to push for cannabis reclassification

Gordon Brown will press ahead with toughening up cannabis laws despite claims there is no scientific basis for a change, it was revealed today.

Smith faces fresh pressure on 42-day terror detentions

Pressure on Jacqui Smith to back down over plans to hold terror suspects for up to 42 days without charge intensified yesterday after leaked documents suggested ministers were considering allowing suspects to be held under house arrest.

Risk of becoming a victim of crime 'lowest since 1980s'

Crime rates are falling rapidly, with the number of offences recorded by the police dropping by 12 per cent in a year.

The Sketch: Evidence points to Gordon's cack hands

Des Browne stood up to withdraw the Prime Minister's party conference offer of troop reductions. Gordon and his cack hands. The fact that he'd announced it in the middle of the Tory party conference, prior to a planned general election, shouldn't be forgotten.

Leading cultural figures attack folly of 42-day detention limit

The spy writer John Le Carré, the actors Colin Firth and Patrick Stewart, the novelist Iain Banks, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and professor of philosophy A C Grayling are among a group of leading figures from the arts and academia who have written to Gordon Brown to oppose the extension of pre-charge detention to 42 days for terrorist suspects.

Early release of terrorists prompts Straw to rethink prisons policy

Ministers were forced into a rapid rethink of a controversial early-release scheme last night after it emerged that two prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences had been freed earlier this year.

The Sketch: £15bn to end servitude of carrying a utility bill obsolete

There was no oral statement in the Commons on ID cards because (or so Harriet Harman told us) there had been no change in the policy. This makes it the first time in BBC history that the Home Secretary has appeared on the Today programme's 8.10 slot to announce that nothing had changed.

Smith will support ID cards in defiance of fierce opposition

Jacqui Smith is to offer a concession to critics of identity cards in the face of concerns over the security and cost of the criticised scheme. The Home Secretary will vow to press ahead with the project, but abandon the requirement for people to be issued with separate ID cards when they renew their passports.

Drug addicts could lose benefits

Drug addicts who refuse to accept treatment will lose their state benefits for up to six months, under new measures announced on Wednesday.

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