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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.

The Sketch: People as tired as Gordon Brown are usually in hospital

"I shall further have meetings today," the PM said and sat down on Jim Murphy.

Letters: Aid for Afghanistan

Aid millions for Afghanistan end up back in the US

Milburn tells PM: Don't betray Blair

Former health secretary warns party against lurching to the left

Mark Steel: It's almost heartbreaking – these people are so clueless

You can imagine Ed Balls crying out: ‘Let’s get Harriet on Britain’s Got Talent

Brown in bid to get back on front foot

PM to unveil new powers for parents as Labour rushes to condemn Blears

Simon Carr: Brown is in his bunker, with a final, inevitable crisis to come

The PM is divorced from reality. He can no longer see for himself

Cabinet 'rivals' rally to Brown's defence

Senior cabinet figures were desperately rallying around Gordon Brown yesterday, with the two men tipped as favourites to succeed Mr Brown moving to quash rumours that he could be replaced before the next election.

Blears: PM's failure to connect with voters is 'lamentable'

Cabinet minister appears to court the sack with scathing article on Gordon Brown's faltering premiership

MPs will get daily rate for 'clocking-in' at Commons

Brown's plan to replace second-home allowance runs into controversy

When will they learn? The pap who tried to tip off his victims

Emily Dugan talks to photographer Steve Back, who foresaw a Bob Quick-style scandal

Taxpayers pick up tab for inflation-busting expenses

Prime Minister urges speedy review and freezes ministers' pay as inquiry launched after details of Jacqui Smith's claims released

Government shuns Muslim Council over link with Hamas

The Government has severed relations with the country's leading Muslim organisation, saying a senior member is a supporter of Hamas, the Palestinian military organisation.

Labour's secret weapon: A revealing audience with Hazel Blears

She's the 'Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep-Cheep' of the Commons, the ballroom-dancing, motorcycle-riding MP for Salford, and an unabashed fan of New Labour. But does Hazel Blears have what it takes to lead her party? Andy McSmith met her

Cabinet infighting ‘angering Labour activists’

Labour is heading for opposition unless cabinet ministers stop manoeuvring for position, the party’s general election co-ordinator warned last night.

Hazel Blears: You ask the questions

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