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Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

George Mudie: The Labour MP is 'deeply worried' about Labour's election prospects

'Lacklustre' Ed Miliband staring at defeat, warns Labour MP George Mudie

Mr Mudie said he was 'deeply worried' about Labour’s election prospects

Cover-up or recent decline? Politicians lock horns over who is to blame for NHS failings

Parliament divided as Keogh report results in special measures for 11 hospitals

Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for her activism

Malala beams in reunion with friend

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, was all smiles as she met her lifelong friend who was injured in the same attack. She met Shazia Ramzan again for the first time at Birmingham Airport.

From left: Martin Hutson (Sam Hunt), Jamie Glover (Peter Greatorex) and Charlotte Lucas (Jo Lambert) in 'If Only'

Theatre review: If Only, Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre

The best play to date about the tragicomic compromises and ignominious ironies of coalition politics is Michael Frayn's Democracy (2003) about the unstable, ill-natured, ideologically bizarre groupings on which power depended in post-war Germany.

The Confessions of Gordon Brown is at the White Bear Theatre
'I'll scrap winter fuel payouts for rich pensioners' says Ed Balls

Ed Balls: Labour would scrap Winter fuel allowance for 500,000 rich pensioners

A future Labour government would scrap the winter fuel allowance for over half a million richer pensioners, the shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls,announced today, as part of attempts to prove the party is ready to take tough spending decisions.

Gordon Brown leads the list of MPs who earn the most outside Parliament but none of the money goes to him personally

Gordon Brown leads list of MPs who earn most outside Parliament (but he does a lot of good work for charity)

MPs added to their salaries with outside earnings worth £7m last year, with 20 backbenchers making more money from other activities than from their parliamentary salaries, new research disclosed last night.

It's foolish for Labour to think that the voters have turned left

The results of last Thursday’s council elections confirm Labour's modest but steady progress since its historic general election defeat in 2010. Labour made significant advances, even though many seats being fought were in hostile territory. New leadership has begun to reinvigorate the party, and a wide-ranging policy review is underway. The Tory-led Coalition appears increasingly accident prone, and is being dragged to the right by an insurgent Ukip threat, crushing David Cameron's hopes of establishing a new brand of centrist conservatism.

Margaret Thatcher in a McDonalds branch in East Finchley

Mrs Thatcher implanted the gene of greed in Britain

That was the truly poisonous part of her legacy in this country

In the age of 24-hour news, politicians avoid unchoreographed contact with the public

David Cameron didn't want to talk to the people of Ipswich about immigration - only 'room meat'

In the age of 24-hour news, politicians avoid unchoreographed contact with the public

In this year's Budget, George Osborne showed he's committed to the illusions of a Torytopia

It used to be said that the best Chancellors are like snake oil salesman. Alas for this one, he's not too good at selling things. But will it cost him or his party?

Mobile World Congress: Smartphone industry must go back to the future

As the world's top players, minus Apple, gather in Barcelona, Gideon Spanier assesses the mood

Editorial: Inheritance tax freeze proves Osborne is not a master strategist after all

Amid the commotion over the Government's stab at solving the vexed question of social care for the elderly, one detail received less prominence than it might have. In order to fund the reforms, the inheritance tax threshold will be frozen at £325,000 until at least 2019.

From Admiral Nelson to Morecambe and Wise: A basic guide to British life for immigrants

The new citizenship handbook cuts out benefits advice and trumpets Thatcher’s legacy

Helen Mirren is about to reprise her Oscar-winning role as Elizabeth II in ‘The Audience’

Yes, Prime Ministers! New play opens up Queen's relationships with her PMs

Helen Mirren is about to reprise her Oscar-winning role as Elizabeth II in 'The Audience', a play by Peter Morgan, screenwriter of 'The Queen'. It opens in London next month. Her Majesty has seen 12 prime ministers come and go over 60 years, and the play promises to 'break the contract of silence' of her weekly audiences with each of them, from Churchill to the present day. John Rentoul offers a preview

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
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newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
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Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker