News A defiant George Osborne during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons

George Osborne refused to rule out a cut in the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p today as the Conservatives and Labour clashed over the economy.

Cap on court payments to defendants ruled unlawful

A Government scheme which left many defendants having to pay to clear their name in court was ruled unlawful yesterday.

Hodge wins secret ballot to chair spending watchdog

Margaret Hodge, the former Labour minister, has been handed one of the most powerful backbench jobs in the Commons after winning the election to lead parliament's government spending watchdog.

New Zealand politician defends blue movie claim

Former government ministers used their official credit cards to buy pornographic films, Bollinger champagne and flowers and even charter an aircraft.

MPs paid £10.5m 'golden goodbye'

MPs who retired or lost their seats at last month's general election are to receive "golden goodbyes" totalling almost £10.5m.

Field made 'poverty tsar'

Frank Field, the former Labour minister, is to conduct a major review into poverty levels across Britain.

No 10 in row over Question Time panel

Downing Street refused to field a Cabinet minister on BBC1's Question Time this week because the panel featured former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, the flagship current affairs programme said.

BT boss adds 1.2m bonus to £860,000 salary

The chief executive of BT received a bonus of £1.2 million last year on top of a salary of £860,000, the telecoms giant reported today.

Julian Knight: Stagflation is here, so how do you live with it?

The stock market, once it has settled down after the euro affair, may be the investment answer

Balls joins Miliband brothers in contest for Labour leadership

Ed Balls will finally announce today that he is to join the race to become the next leader of the Labour Party.

Civil servants 'objected' to Labour's final spending spree

Whitehall's most senior civil servants formally protested over a spending spree by Labour ministers during Gordon Brown's final months in power.

Terence Blacker: Entrapment is the name of the game

What a happy day it must have been for Melissa Jacobs when a silly old fool called Lord Triesman took a shine to her.

Fans protest as bid to host World Cup falls prey to the oldest trick in the book

The Lord Triesman affair has provoked a huge backlash – but proves that kiss-and-tells can still bring down the powerful. By Cahal Milmo

Chancellor launches audit of Government spending

Chancellor George Osborne will today launch an independent audit of Government spending after ministers claimed they had found "black holes" in the budgets left behind by the outgoing Labour administration.

Leading Article: Universities should not be tied to business

Until 11 months ago there was a separate department for higher, further and adult education. Gordon Brown set up the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, also known as DIUS, after he came to power in 2007. It made sense to separate higher education from schools to show that it was important in its own right and deserved its own department – and linking universities to innovation and skills chimed with the political mood. Universities are about the life of the mind, but they are also important engines in the UK's economic development and many undergraduates regard a degree as a ticket to a job. The three areas were obviously linked.

National identity card scheme to be axed

The £5 billion national identity card scheme will be consigned to the scrapheap as a result of the new coalition Government, the Home Office confirmed today.

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A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
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If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

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The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

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Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
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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

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