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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

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering