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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living