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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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A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
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Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
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Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
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Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
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'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
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A cupboard on sale for £7,500 in London
lifeAnother baffling example of the capital’s housing crisis
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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home