News The man behind the all-important shift of David Cameron’s parting from the left to the right has been awarded an MBE.

David Cameron pays £90 a time; Nick Clegg has gone to £45. But for many MPs it’s a point of pride to pay as little as possible. We comb Westminster to find out whose haircuts cost what

Andy McSmith's Diary: Why do these troughers in ermine have a legal right to line their pockets?

The House of Lords has published details of expenses claimed by their lordships during August 2013. Since they convened for only one day that month, most peers claimed no expenses, but among the minority who did you will see – inevitably – the names of that trio of troughers in ermine, Lord Hanningfield, Lord Taylor of Warwick, and Baroness Uddin.

Ed Miliband has argued that the package could not go ahead during the biggest cost of living crisis for a generation

PMQs: Miliband gives tour-de-force demonstration of how not to do it

A growing economy is bad news for Ed's 'cost of living crisis'

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron signs the book of condolence at the South African Embassy in central London

MPs to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela in Parliament

The leaders of Britain’s three main political parties will lead tributes on Monday, as normal parliamentary business is suspended

Andy McSmith's Diary: One sympathetic Tory sought to co-write leader’s biography

Of all the people David Cameron might choose to write his biography, Michael Ashcroft must surely be near the bottom of the list.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Tristram Hunt throws the (EngLit) book at Michael Gove

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an ambitious minister possessed of a large department tampers with the legacy of the country’s most celebrated woman novelist at his peril. A point not lost on the new shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, who today challenged Michael Gove to confirm that pupils studying only English Language will be “excluded from studying great works of English literature”.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Lord Leveson admits he made one big slip-up

Our man in Westminster

Simon Burns insists he can forge a good working relationship with John Bercow

'Stupid, sanctimonious dwarf': Ex-minister Simon Burns who abused Commons Speaker John Bercow could be his deputy

Former Transport minister favourite to be new No 2 to man he criticised

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Up close and personal: Evans’ resignation speech was tough on everyone

Even crusty journalists have displayed a heart which I have never before witnessed

Parliamentary tradition should not hamper efficiency and progress

Walking into Parliament is like stepping back in time. Men in tights, the odd way in which MPs address each other in the Commons, and a voting system that requires Parliamentarians to physically walk through a lobby to cast their ballot. Harmless, if arcane, traditions.

John Bercow, foreground centre, said that in future ministers should not have control over what the House of Commons debated.

Beyond the Commons: John Bercow calls for new age of e-democracy

Speaker flouts convention with public claim that Parliamentary politics is becoming ‘irrelevant’

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Commons chamber awash with the blood of scapegoats

In what seems like another age, but was actually February this year, David Cameron made a sober, non-partisan Commons statement on the Francis report’s exposure of the gruesome failings of the Mid Staffs Hospitals Trust.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: How David Cameron and William Hague got caught up in a battle of the sexes

David Cameron and William Hague got into similar trouble, but for exactly opposite reasons. If the Foreign Secretary had said “stupid person” or (admittedly a bit of a mouthful for an impromptu sedentary aside) “stupid Honourable Member”, he’d be home free. As the lip reading consensus was that he muttered “stupid woman” while Cameron was answering, or more accurately not answering, a hostile question from Labour’s Cathy Jamieson, he quickly became Twitter villain of the day.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch : Danny the axeman cometh of age – and sets about rebuilding the entire nation

It was all rather touching. The Lib Dems (though not Nick Clegg) were out in force, like an extended family supporting a member on his big day – proud but a little worried. How did the unassuming highlander join the “quad” with Dave and George and Nick? And be the one to get a congratulatory pat on the shoulder from the Chancellor, slipping out after hearing his Big Statement? And how did any relative of  ours turn out to be the Cabinet’s axeman? 

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The cuts were bad, but the jokes that accompanied them were even worse

Dr Osborne did not say the economy was  ‘healing’ but ‘moving out of intensive care’

Andy McSmith's Diary: PM’s slip of the tongue was more like Putin his foot in it

David Cameron made an unfortunate slip of the tongue at Prime Minister’s Questions when he referred to “the Russian regime” – at a time when he is striving to improve relations with Vladimir Putin, whom he will meet in Belfast at the weekend, in the honourable hope that he can be persuaded to stop arming the Syrian regime. When he met Putin in Sochi last month, he did not so much as mention Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered on British soil.

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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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone