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.

Brown makes early overture to Lib Dems

PM to announce constitutional reform package designed to woo Clegg's party in the event of a hung parliament

Oil prices up as motorists face record petrol charges

The price of oil crept up yesterday on the first day of trading since upbeat US job numbers last Friday. However, the jump is likely to put further pressure on petrol prices in the UK as motorists prepare for near-record prices at the pumps.

David Cameron demands inquiry into lobbying row

David Cameron stepped up demands today for a "brief but comprehensive" inquiry into the Government lobbying row.

Cameron demands probe into 'shocking' lobbying claims

David Cameron demanded an investigation today into "shocking" claims made by senior Labour MPs who were filmed apparently offering their expertise for cash.

Conform or close, head of food agency tells dirty cafés

Restaurants with poor hygiene standards face rigorous repeat inspections

Michael Gove: Deep red is the new black as Labour reverts to its old ways

What is striking about today's Labour Party is that it hasn't evolved along the path set by Tony Blair, absorbing its more progressive characteristics and developing them further. Instead, under the guise of "moving on" from Blair, the Labour Party has in fact regressed. Under Gordon Brown, Labour has retreated into its traditional comfort zones, ditching the most modernising aspects of the Blair years and going back to many of the failed dogmas of the 1970s and 1980s. The spirit of Seventies socialist nostalgia has re-captured the Labour Party, and it can be found in all those key areas that Blair first recognised had to change.

Adonis warns Unite over strike threat to BA's future

Lord Adonis yesterday became the first senior Labour minister to publicly criticise the Unite trade union, saying the move was "totally unjustified", not just because of the damage to passengers but "the threat it poses to the future of one of our great companies".

Leading article: The politics of pet projects

The Conservatives' accusation that Labour is engaging in a "scorched earth" policy by locking government into contracts that will be expensive and difficult to break after the next election is a little too dramatic. The flurry of pre-election Government activity that we report today seems more likely to be designed to protect various pet projects, rather than to waste public money (not least because Labour ministers have not entirely given up on the hope of remaining in office after the election).

US boosted by stronger employment figures

Lower-than-expected job-loss figures in the United States yesterday gave the American economy a fillip and provided world stock markets with a boost.

'What would Michael Foot have been like as Prime Minister? I believe he would have led a successful Labour government'

Michael Foot, the great bibliophile – for thus I will remember him, rather than as parliamentary orator or sometime leader of the Labour Party – began one of the most fascinating essays in the English language, his essay on Beaverbrook entitled "The Case for Beelzebub", thus:

US economy continues to slow

The pace of job losses in the US economy continued to ease last month, with private sector employers axing 20,000 jobs in February, compared to 60,000 in January.

Andrew Grice: Don't bank on Cameron ditching sofa government

Inside Politics

Politicians are no strangers to the law

Despite what the public thinks of its politicians, it is very rare for an MP to be convicted of an offence serious enough to draw a prison sentence. The last sitting MP to go to jail was John Stonehouse, below, more than 30 years ago.

Minister regrets £42,000 expenses row

Local government minister Barbara Follett described the expenses scandal as a "sad and sorry episode" today after being ordered to repay more than £40,000.

Cameron to cut seats in Commons by 10 per cent

Constituency boundary review designed to give Tories second victory, claims Labour
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
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Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
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Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
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Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced