Life and Style ban would only affect England

Health campaigners say ban could protect nearly half a million children who are exposed second-hand smoke every week

Village People: Westminster's very own prison pen pal

One of the peculiarities of our unwritten constitution is that anyone elected to public office, such as an MP, is automatically disqualified if they are sentenced to a long prison term, but that does not apply to members of the House of Lords, who are not elected.

Tory peer faces jail over expenses scandal

Once feted in Westminster as the first black Conservative peer, Lord Taylor of Warwick was last night facing a substantial jail sentence after being found guilty of abusing his expenses.

Lord Taylor of Warwick guilty of fiddling expenses

A former Tory peer was today found guilty of fiddling his expenses to claim more than £11,000 from the public purse.

Lords' expenses system a 'quirk', says accused peer

A former Tory peer accused of lying about his expenses believed it was a "quirk" of the House of Lords to list as his main residence a property he never stayed at, a court heard today.

Peer 'viewed expenses as in lieu of salary'

A former Tory peer accused of lying about his expenses told a court he viewed the system as being "in lieu of salary".

Peer 'crazy not to nominate another address'

A former Tory peer accused of lying about his expenses was told by a fellow lord he would be "crazy" not to nominate a house outside London as his main address, a court heard today.

Lord Sugar fails to impress in House

As Lord Sugar of Clapton serves his apprenticeship in the House of Lords, records show he has voted only three times in the past year.

Minor British Institutions: the postcode

The postcode is another triumph of pioneering British bureaucracy. Sir Rowland "Penny Post" Hill split London into ten compass-point districts in 1856; the current code took 15 years to arrive after its trial in Norwich in 1959.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: Farmer who became a life peer respected by allies and rivals alike in the House of Lords

Between 1982 and 2005 when parliament was in session, every Monday at Edinburgh airport and most Thursdays or Fridays at Heathrow, it was possible that I would bump into Elizabeth Carnegy going to and fro to carry out her duties in the House of Lords to which she had been elevated by her admirer, Margaret Thatcher, in 1982. Duty was what she was about: no life peer or baroness took the Lords more seriously. And in consequence, I was told by Labour peers who did not share many of her views, that though she was very much an archetypal Tory lady, they took her seriously and liked her. And they were right to do so. She was utterly sincere, sensible and forthright in her views, and devoid of political malice.

Coalition warns peers over Labour AV vote 'trap'

The coalition Government today warned peers against falling for a Labour "elephant trap" which could scupper the timetable for its planned referendum on a new voting system.

Three peers face suspension over expenses

Three members of the House of Lords face suspension and being forced to repay thousands of pounds to taxpayers after an investigation into their expenses claims.

Labour to sabotage vote reform Bill in bid to subvert Coalition

Labour is drawing up plans to sabotage the Bill proposing a referendum on the voting system during its passage through the House of Lords.

Leading article: Honest failure

Lord Pearson of Rannoch may not have made a great impression during his nine months as leader of the UK Independence Party, but he deserves to make more of a splash with his resignation statement. He had learnt, he said, that he was "not much good at party politics, which I do not enjoy". He would step down at the party's conference next month, to devote more time to his other interests.

Cornelia Parker, Baltic, Gateshead

So many things seem airily suspended as you plunge down the steep, twisty streets to the banks of the River Tyne. The Tyne Bridge hangs so high in the air, almost shaving off the rooftops; seagulls wheel above your head, ear-gratingly raucous as a knife blade scraped against a sink. And, over at the old Baltic flour mill on the Gateshead side of the river, the centrepiece of Cornelia Parker's mini-retrospective consists of objects in suspension too. This is not unusual for Parker though. She has often suspended objects in the air. It is almost a trademark sculptural gesture on her part, to draw our attention to the perpetual lightness of things; to transform the nature of what she is inviting us to examine by robbing things of their groundedness, their solidity, their familiar contexts.

New Act forces architect to quits Lords

Lord Foster has pointed out that he is not a nom-domiciled UK resident and has never sought "non-dom" status, his letter setting out his position is here.

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Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor