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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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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
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment