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Cabinet meetings under Margaret Thatcher were “miserably disappointing” gatherings devoid of debate and filled with “unctuous self-satisfaction”, one her most senior ministers said in 1984.

Lord Hanningfield says of allowance claims: ‘I have to live, don’t I?’

Case raises questions over Lords membership rules

PMQs: Ed Miliband is striding onto centre ground

Meanwhile, though, the Labour leader is doing his best to downplay the heroic role of payday crusader Stella Creasy

Congressional aides predict Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could seal agreement

US Senate ‘very close’ to agreeing deal to raise debt ceiling and end shutdown

Senior Senate aides say deal is about to be announced

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

US budget battle: IMF's Christine Lagarde warns America's lawmakers they risk pushing world into recession

Stark warning from IMF chief comes as search for deal to extend debt ceiling shifts to Senate

The entry to the Jefferson Memorial is closed off in Washington

US shutdown: President Obama vows not to give in to 'ideological crusade' as budget impasse forces 800,000 people off work

Republicans and Democrats have failed to agree the budget for federal agencies, forcing non-essential workers on unpaid leave

Nigel Evans makes a personal statement to MPs in the House of Commons

'I will see this through to the end': MP Nigel Evans protests his innocence over rape and sex charges

Alleged offences span a period of a decade and are said to have taken place in London and Lancashire

Tony Abbott stands with his family as he claims victory in Australia's federal election

Australia takes a turn to the right: Tony Abbott wins general election

Conservative Coalition brings an end to six years of Labor rule

Labour attack David Cameron over party funding lobbying bill

Labour will today call on David Cameron to drop his controversial lobbying bill and return to the negotiating table to reform the way party politics is funded in Britain.

MPs ‘losing public trust’ over lobbying, says Commons sleaze watchdog

MPs are undermining public trust in democracy by failing to back tighter controls on lobbying, Parliament’s official sleaze watchdog has warned.

Man due in court charged with murder of woman, 84

Police have charged a man with the murder of an 84-year-old woman discovered dead in her home and the attempted murder of a nine year-old boy found stabbed in a skate park.

Nick Clegg has warned the public would not understand it if MPs were awarded a bumper pay rise

Main party leaders set to scupper moves to give MPs a bumper pay rise

Recommended increase was expected to add up to £10,000 to backbenchers' salaries in 2015

Three years after being knifed by Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd gets revenge and returns as Australian Prime Minister

In an extraordinary turnaround in political fortunes, Australia's former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, wrestled the top job back today from Julia Gillard, who ousted him nearly three years ago to the day.

Commons Speaker John Bercow

Lobbying scandal latest: Speaker John Bercow limits release of new Commons passes

Commons Speaker John Bercow today suspended the issuing of new Commons passes to staff working for all-party parliamentary groups amid concerns they are being used as a vehicle for political lobbying at Westminster.

Nigeria officially passes ban on gay marriage

Lawmakers in Nigeria have passed a bill banning gay marriage, setting prison terms of up to 14 years.

Hold the front page: Ferguson’s retirement relegated the Queen’s Speech and global atrocities to the news in brie

The Last Word: One warm gesture said more than all the Fergie hot air

The tributes to Sir Alex were out of proportion, but not his pledge to a more moving retiree

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...