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Late in PM’s Questions the (very) right-wing Tory backbencher Peter Bone rose to deliver his magisterial verdict on Nick Clegg’s substitution for the absent David Cameron. “Hasn’t the acting Prime Minister been outstanding today?” he asked, adding that “anyone listening on the radio” would have thought it was Cameron himself. (This wasn’t a huge compliment since Bone is hardly the PM’s greatest fan). But then the only half-sarcastic pay-off: “I think that the Right Hon Gentleman is turning into a Tory.”

Osborne appoints critic to top job at Treasury watchdog

The Chancellor has recruited one of his most trenchant critics to head the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) – the Treasury watchdog responsible for economic forecasts.

Labour votes on reserving half Shadow Cabinet seats for women

Half of the seats in Labour's Shadow Cabinet could be reserved for women under proposals to be voted on by Labour MPs today.

Labour challenged over spending

The Treasury minister Danny Alexander is to challenge Labour to spell out where it would cut public spending, as he claims the only coherent economic policy put forward by the opposition is in Tony Blair's book – and it backs the coalition.

All the Globe's a stage – even for women writers

As Shakespeare's theatre opens its doors today for the first time to a play by a female writer, Rachel Shields reports on a wider theatrical revolution

Osborne's Budget may have breached equality law

The coalition Government faces the embarrassing prospect of being rebuked by the equalities watchdog over whether its planned spending cuts are "unfair" on groups such as women, the disabled and ethnic minorities.

Pope's UK visit schedule to contain nap breaks

Organisers of the Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain have arranged slots in the Pope’s itinerary to allow him to take a nap.

Sound and fury, but little dynamite so far in the Mandelson memoirs

In April 2008, Lord Mandelson began gathering material for his memoirs. After trawling through his private papers, he was almost breathless with excitement as he told friends: "It's a goldmine. You can't imagine what I have found."

Mandelson memoir sparks Labour Party infighting

Senior Labour figures pleaded for calm yesterday as the imminent publication of Peter Mandelson's memoirs, The Third Man, provoked a fresh round of party infighting.

John Bercow: 'We need reform. Too bad if it disturbs people's lunch'

A year on from his appointment as Speaker, John Bercow tells Steve Richards why he is determined to change the culture of the House – starting with Prime Minister's Questions

Families face tax-credit crisis again

The Budget contains hidden hardships for poorer families, writes Alison Shepherd

Terence Blacker: We won't be nagged any more

Half-close your eyes, apply a bit of imagination, and you will see a startling resemblance between Harriet Harman, acting leader of the Labour Party, and Mary Portas, the TV bossyboots who likes to be known as "Mary Queen of Shops". Both have brutalist hairstyles. Both have mouths which seem to have been shaped by years of saying the word "inappropriate" at regular intervals. Both convey, in their every word and gesture, the conviction that not only do they have the answer to life's problems but that it is their duty to persuade the rest of us to be like them. Both suddenly seem to belong to a dying age. It is the twilight of the nanny.

The Sketch: Admirer or despiser, it all depends on what matches your shoes

In the dealings of the Axeman and the Taxman we also need a Paxman – someone to tell us in fact what we remember we think we were told.

John Rentoul: Beneath the bluster, she had a point

Harman was not going to convince anyone - fair-minded centrists or wavering Liberal Democrats, with such a partisan attack

David Cameron not being 'straight' on Budget, says Harriet Harman

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman clashed angrily with the Prime Minister today over the effect of the emergency Budget on pensioners and families.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam