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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Independent Travel
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes