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

Peers drop equality bill challenge

Peers today dropped a challenge to the lifting of a ban on gays and lesbians holding civil partnership ceremonies in churches.

Single-parent plan 'will hit poor'

The Government is being pressured to reconsider a plan to charge single parents fees to obtain child maintenance payments from ex-partners.

Second U-turn over the 'bonfire of quangos' saves Youth Justice Board

The Government has reversed plans to scrap the Youth Justice Board as part of its much-publicised "bonfire of the quangos". In a second U-turn in as many days, the Department of Justice said that the board – which oversees the detention and rehabilitation of young offenders – would be reprieved.

Errors & Omissions: Some words should never leave the backwoods of America

The foundations of formality are shifting.

Lords report calls for new drive to curb spread of HIV

Twenty-five years after the first national campaign against Aids warned "Don't die of ignorance," a Lords committee has called for a new drive to curb the spread of the disease.

Fertility chief's scathing attack on anti-abortion campaigners

Pro-choice campaigners are fearful about a step-by-step attempt to tighten up service provision

The Sketch: Salvoes on reform bring out lordly left's conservative side

There may be new readers unfamiliar with the remark of that toriest of Tories, Lord Salisbury, so here it is again: "What do we need change for," he said. "Aren't things bad enough as they are?"

Labour delivers blow to Clegg's Lords plans

Nick Clegg's plans to create an elected House of Lords suffered a big setback last night when Labour vowed to oppose the shake-up and peers from all parties lined up to attack it.

Baroness Cox: 'If we ignore wrongs, we condone them'

When Baroness Cox takes up a cause, she invariably courts controversy. Her latest – a campaign against sharia law – is no exception. Jerome Taylor meets her

Revealed: 137 'silent peers' who make the case for reform

Nearly 140 members of the House of Lords have not spoken or asked a question in Parliament for at least a year. The presence of dozens of silent peers, who are all entitled to the privileges of membership, is one of the arguments used to counter those who say the House of Lords works well and does not need reform.

Restraint used on young offenders is 'too harsh'

Ministers will be put under unprecedented pressure this week to outlaw forms of physical restraint currently used against young offenders, when the Chief Inspector of Prisons will insist painful control techniques should never be used again.

The Earl of Onslow: Colourful hereditary peer who advocated reform of the House of Lords

It is a measure both of Michael Onslow's courage and tireless sense of duty that within weeks of his death from cancer he was still active in the Lords; his last speech was made only three weeks before he died. Paradoxically, although he served it well, he thought the House of Lords was well past its sell-by date.

'Horrified' Lord Hanningfield defends expenses claims

A Tory peer accused of expenses fraud said today he believed he was entitled to the money because most other members of the House of Lords claimed the full amount available.

Andreas Whittam Smith: A more 'democratic' Lords can only damage the Commons

If we believe we have a legitimate system of government - and the evidence is that we do - then there is no case for major constitutional change
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform