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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.

Satyajit Das: Fiscal cliff not big enough to solve US debt problem

Stateside View: What is needed is a review of all spending to better target it and align it with tax revenues
Ukrainian lion tamer Vladislav Goncharov, at a circus
in Budapest

Circuses blow their top at lion licensing plan

Owners say proposal is 'disrespectful' and could drive them out of business

Disabled crossbench peer Lady Campbell of Surbiton becomes first person in 305 years to be allowed to speak in the House of Lords with the aid of a personal assistant

A member of the House of Lords made parliamentary history by becoming the first person in 305 years to be allowed to speak with the aid of a personal assistant.

Obama with John Kerry in 2008

Barack Obama prepares to build bridges – but first he needs new allies to help him do it

Urgent work to avert the 'fiscal cliff' as key figures from first term get ready to leave President's team

David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt join critics of Nadine Dorries' appearance on 'I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here'

David Cameron today warned Nadine Dorries she should be representing her constituents rather than appearing on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

Olympics chief Paul Deighton takes seat in House of Lords

London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton took his seat in the House of Lords today.

Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell after he met Police Federation members at his constituency office on Friday

Labour MPs keep heat on Andrew Mitchell

Embattled Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell returned to the Commons front line for the first time since his foul-mouthed row with Downing Street police and was soon reminded of his troubles by Labour MPs.

Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell after he met Police Federation members at his constituency office on Friday

Tories fail to draw line under 'plebgate' row

As some MPs rally round Andrew Mitchell, others ask why Cameron has not sacked him

David Blunkett on why our political class are despised

As the Labour Party conference gets underway, former Home and Education Secretary David Blunkett has issued a stark warning in today's Daily Mail about the decline in trust towards the political class. His analysis is not so far off that off Independent founder Andreas Whittam Smith, whose response was Democracy2015.

Todd Akin and his wife Lulli, have attracted support and protest

'Legitimate rape': two words that could cost Republicans everything

Mitt Romney isn’t just battling against Obama –he has to deal with the fallout from Todd Akin’s toxic campaign in Missouri

Palace of Westminster reopens after fire alert

Parts of the Palace of Westminster were closed off this morning after smoke detectors in the basement of the historic building were activated.

Warsi cleared over claims for expenses

The Conservative Party said its co-chairman, Baroness Warsi, had been cleared by a House of Lords investigation of expenses irregularities.

'He was a great Yorkshireman': Singh in 2007

Marsha Singh: Politician who championed the people of Bradford

There are some – not very many – parliamentary constituencies where the demands of constituents are so pressing, and casework so overwhelming, that the MP just cannot play a significant part in broader national politics. Bradford West was one of them. Marsha Singh was a softly spoken colleague of great intelligence, careful judgement and an impressive knowledge of world affairs who could have made an even greater impact in Parliament had he represented a normal constituency.

Cameron brushes off clash with backbencher Jesse Norman

David Cameron today brushed aside reports that he was involved in an angry confrontation with the ringleader of Tory rebels on House of Lords reform as “tittle tattle and rumour”.

Coalition shaken as Cameron ducks out of vote on Lords

Rebels shoot down 'dead duck' Lords reform as 91 Tories vote against Bill

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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
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
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