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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.”

Clegg admits he begged Brown not to quit while he negotiated with Cameron

Nick Clegg confirmed yesterday that he begged Gordon Brown to stay in Downing Street a little longer while he sewed up a coalition deal with David Cameron.

Lord Kinnock backs Ed Miliband for leader

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock came out in support of Ed Miliband in the race to succeed Gordon Brown.

Yes, Prime Minister, Festival Theatre, Chichester

In the early days of a new hung parliament, the Prime Minister is beset by myriad problems: the cabinet is split, the national debt is rising, the Lancaster House convention is a catastrophe and the new oil pipeline deal with Kumranistan depends on the Turks joining the EU. There's worse to come: the pipeline deal, and a huge dollar loan, further hinges on the material whims of the Kumranistan foreign minister, a weekend guest at Chequers, being properly indulged. And his whim of choice is an under-age sexual partner for the night. "Is he gay?" asks an aide. "If only it were that simple," shoots back the PM.

Date set for new Labour leader

The result of the Labour Party leadership contest will not be determined for another four months, it was announced today.

Labour candidate Manish Sood suspended over pre-election Gordon Brown criticism

An election candidate who described Gordon Brown as the "worst Prime Minister" has been suspended from the Labour Party, he said today.

John Rentoul: This can't be postponed until September

Gordon Brown's statement this afternoon contained a double surprise

Bruce Anderson: Mistakes that cost Mr Cameron dear

If William Hague or Ken Clarke had been Shadow Chancellor, the Tory leader would have been kissing hands on Friday

Voters vent their anger on <i>Independent</i> soapbox

Voters vented their anger at Conservative jibes about Gordon Brown in Newcastle during yesterday afternoon's Independent soapbox hustings. Audience members were annoyed after Tory candidate Nick Holder quoted a Labour party member in an ill-advised joke about the prime minister's track record.

Howard Jacobson: A morality play for these muddled times

Remember that the next time you ask for honesty: you don't want to hear it

You Ask The Questions, Leaders Special

Put your questions to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown

Leading article: More a lapse than a catastrophe

There is probably not a politician in history who has never been tempted to say what Gordon Brown said yesterday about a member of the voting public.

Clegg issues votes warning to Labour

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg today warned that he would not prop up a Labour government which had collapsed to third in the popular vote.

Tom Sutcliffe: If it was a job interview in front of the nation, the vacancy's still open

"It will disappoint you and it will disappoint many people but we have come to the end of our debating time," said Alastair Stewart, wrapping up Britain's first television leader's debate. It wasn't the first prepared line that failed to match the mood of the moment but it surely offered the biggest discrepancy between wishful thinking and hard fact.

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen