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Even the room somewhere in Westminster where the historic meeting was to take place was kept secret until the last minute. Once “C”, Sir John Sawers, and his two colleagues arrived, the Intelligence and Security Committee chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind announced a time delay on the TV broadcast lest anything endangering national security should be said. Mysteriously, the man sitting immediately behind MI5’s Andrew Parker bore a passing resemblance to Nikita Khrushchev. We were, in short, all keyed up.

Brown backs Blears despite 'unacceptable' tax claim





Gordon Brown continues to have full confidence in Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, despite twice publicly branding her behaviour "unacceptable", the Prime Minister's spokesman said today.

Gentlemen's club has come to end, says Brown

Gordon Brown launched another bid to draw a line under the MPs' expenses scandal today, saying: "The gentlemen's club has come to an end."

Labour to axe MPs over abuse of expenses

Labour MPs found guilty of abusing the expenses system will be barred from standing as party candidates under measures agreed yesterday.

Stadium delays alarm Benitez

Liverpool face the prospect of missing out on tens of millions of pounds in revenue, vital to their pursuit of Manchester United, by missing two vital deadlines for the construction of their new stadium, which is the cornerstone of the club's growth.

A dark day for Parliament. A new dawn for democracy?

Michael Brown, an MP for 18 years, reflects on a historic day at Westminster

John Rentoul: A leadership election would do Labour a lot of good

The candidates to succeed Gordon Brown would need to pledge to go to the country

The Right Honourable Spongers... and the longest week in their lives

One by one, all three main political parties reeled from fresh revelations over their members' expense claims. Brian Brady and Jane Merrick report

The Sketch: Vote Labour! Yes, that really was the message

It was more like a memorial service than a campaign launch. Dull, dutiful, deadly. A husk of a prime minister introduced the proposition for the local and European elections: "Vote Labour! We sacked Elliot Morley!"

Latest expenses revealed as MPs join payback scramble

Ex-minister claimed £16,000 for non-existant mortgage as Health minister agrees to return £41,709 expenses

Minister to pay back £41,709 of expense claims

The health minister Phil Hope is to hand back £41,709 in taxpayer-funded MPs expenses, he announced today.

Tax authorities may close housing loophole

Exemption for 'second homes' faces abolition

John Rentoul: Don't be wimps about these revelations

Instead of being so defensive about their expense claims, Labour should claim credit for promoting freedom of information

Leading article: A flipping sense of entitlement

It is the details that do the damage. To be blunt, none of the MPs whose expenses were exposed last week has benefited unfairly from the public purse to anything like the extent of Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of RBS. His pension fund, paid for by the taxpayers that now own the bank, is worth £17m.

Labour rocked by expenses revelations

Brown, Mandelson, Straw and Blears highlighted in embarrassing leak
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Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
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In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
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George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
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The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
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Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
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Women's rugby

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The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

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How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
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We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
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Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

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Acting in video games gets a makeover

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