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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.

59% of voters back Lords reform bid

Almost three in five voters (59 per cent) support reform of the House of Lords to ensure a majority of its members are elected by the public, according to a poll released today.

Tory fundraiser Lord Fink faces inquiry into Lords dinner for Amex clients

The Conservative Party treasurer is to face a full Parliamentary inquiry into allegations that he broke anti-sleaze rules.

Nick Clegg: Chamber is affront to democracy

As you read this I am with statesmen and dignitaries from more than 100 countries at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. There are leaders from countries with a wide range of different democratic systems and almost overwhelmingly they are united by one belief: that the people who make the laws should be elected.

Murdoch pressured Blair to rush into Iraq war, says Campbell in diaries

Spin doctor's claims in latest book contradict media mogul's evidence at Leveson Inquiry

Labour peer Lord Archer dies

Former MP and minister Lord Archer of Sandwell died today aged 85, it has been announced.

Former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber wins Arizona election

A US congressional aide who almost lost his life in the Arizona shooting rampage that wounded former representative Gabrielle Giffords has won a special election to fill her seat.

Tory co-chairman Warsi asks for probe over expenses claims

Under-pressure Conservative co-chairman Baroness Warsi today referred herself to the Lords Commissioner for Standards amid allegations over her expenses.

£38 billion defence 'black hole' filled

A £38 billion black hole in the UK's defence budget has been eliminated, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed today.

Republican Richard Lugar lost by a 20-point margin

Defeat of Indiana’s veteran Republican senator Richard Lugar reveals return of partisan far-right

The crushing primary defeat of Indiana’s veteran Republican senator Richard Lugar not only shows the Tea Party movement is alive and well. It is also a pointer that the next Congress will be even more partisan and less inclined to compromise than ever.

David Cameron opens door for Lords referendum

Prime Minister David Cameron held the door open for a referendum on an elected House of Lords today, as a parliamentary committee said the public should be given a say.

PETER SLIPPER: The Speaker faces charges of ‘unwelcome suggestions’ to a male adviser

Australia's Speaker Peter Slipper (and ordained priest) hit by sexual harassment claims

Australia's minority Labour government was embroiled in a crisis last night after the Speaker of the Federal Parliament agreed to step aside, pending an investigation into allegations he sexually harassed a male member of his staff and misused travel entitlements.

Rupert Murdoch and the cover of the book by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman

Murdoch's media empire was a 'toxic shadow state', says MP in new book

Rupert Murdoch's media empire was yesterday labelled a "toxic shadow state" as it was accused of launching a campaign of intimidation to blunt MPs' investigations into its alleged law breaking.

Romney will face a better organized, better financed Obama campaign backed by the power of the presidency

Front-runner Mitt Romney closes in on Republican nomination after winning three more primaries

Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination last night, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC, and shifted his focus to the general election with a sharp attack on President Barack Obama.

Queen vows to continue serving

The Queen has vowed to serve as head of state, now and into the future, in a landmark speech to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

Mitt Romney goes into tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” boosted by his wins in Michigan and Arizona last week

Romney aims to regain aura of inevitablity as 'Super Tuesday' electoral contest looms

Exasperated with a primary process as protracted as it has been vicious, Republican Party grandees are looking to see if Mitt Romney can at last regain an aura of inevitability in tomorrow's "Super Tuesday" contests across 10 states.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas