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“One thing I have become very sensitive about is this accusation that Conservatives are somehow racist,” Edward de Mesquita, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in West Hampstead, in London, told the Camden New Journal. “Conservatives are not racist. So many of the Conservatives have foreign wives, after all.

BBC presenter Colin Murray made comments about Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill's 'bottom'

BBC presenter’s sexist comment about Jessica Ennis-Hill ‘unacceptable’

Culture Secretary Maria Miller condemns Colin Murray after reference to Olympic medallist’s ‘bottom’

Checks, including blood pressure, can save 650 lives a year

Jeremy Hunt urges over-40s to take advantage of free NHS checks

More than 650 lives a year could be saved, as well as thousands of diabetes cases and heart attacks avoided, if 40- to 74-year-olds took up NHS checks, the Health Secretary has said.

Analysis: Hospital mediocrity isn't the problem - it's the failure to address it

The NHS needs a blame-free culture, a spirit of openness and the ambition to succeed

PM's election guru Lynton Crosby triggers smoke alarm

Has his work for a tobacco giant had any influence over government policy?

Liverpool Care Pathway: Controversial 'end-of-life' regime for dying patients 'to be replaced'

The results of an independent review show concerns raised by family members over the care of their dying loved ones

Campaigners have warned of a library “slaughter” in England

Campaigners warn of libraries in crisis across England

They claim over 1,000 face closure by 2016

In the UK there are some 80,000 sex workers, a figure said to include 4,000 women and children trafficked into the country to work as sex slaves

Victims of sex trafficking 'at risk' over NHS charging plans

Confusion over whether the charges would apply to maternity services, says RCM

The Long Live South Bank campaign has garnered 58,000 signatures for a petition calling for the skate park to be saved

National Theatre and English Heritage unite to oppose redevelopment of London's Southbank Centre

The skateboarding community, National Theatre, and English Heritage groups have come together to put a spanner in the works of a planned redevelopment of the area

A new NHS Helpline has been putting peoples lives at risk, doctors are saying

Foreigners to be made to pay £200 a year for NHS services

Foreigners who visit Britain for more than six months will be made to pay at least £200 a year to use NHS services, under a set of proposals to be introduced tomorrow.

Manchester Art Gallery has a collection of almost 13,000 pieces. Manchester is among the regional councils that are planning to cut cultural funding

Regional arts left with London’s crumbs as spending cuts bite, warns Harriet Harman

Culture Secretary warned that funding disparity will drive theatres and museums to the wall

Work to refurbish House of Lords toilets could cost up to £100,000

Work to refurbish House of Lords toilets could cost up to £100,000

Up to £100,000 will be spent sprucing up two toilets in the House of Lords, it has been revealed.

NHS baby deaths scandal: CQC officials 'threatened to sue to stop names being linked to alleged cover-up'

Under-fire officials threatened to sue the Care Quality Commission in an eleventh-hour bid to stop their names being linked to an alleged cover-up, it emerged today.

Dr Heather Wood and Cynthia Bower

CQC storm: ‘Bullying culture’ may mean care scandals go undetected

A former inspector of the Care Quality Commission has described how criticism was quashed and ‘good people’ were forced to shut up or quit

Cynthia Bower, former chief executive of the Care Quality Commission

CQC storm: ‘I can’t believe what your people have been doing. Bloody hell’

As the revelations about the alleged CQC cover-up emerge, Emily Dugan visits its call centre

A reveller, with a blanket wrapped around herself, celebrates the summer solstice at the ancient Stonehenge monument on Salisbury Plain in southern England

Thousands celebrate summer solstice ahead of 'historic moment' for Stonehenge

The neighbouring road is finally about to close

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
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'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick